LOCAL TOMATOES: A Refreshing Summertime Treat!

Jul 6th, 2021

Growing up, we lived in the country (at least 20 minutes to the nearest shopping mall, no close neighbors, gravel driveway). In the summertime, we would always keep an eye out for the home farm stands that would show up along our jaunt into town. Mom and Dad’s favorite was the honor-system pop-up tomato stand. Nothing better than red, juicy, homegrown, fresh tomatoes sliced with maybe a touch of salt and pepper. You truly can taste the difference!

As toddlers, my kids loved cherry tomatoes. Now they’re in the “sounds different, I’m not going to eat it” stage of palette maturity. Little do they know many of their favorites include this delicious fruit (ex. Marinara sauce, ketchup, meatloaf, chili). Meanwhile, I’ll always be excited when tomatoes are in-season and continue to teach them the proper way to store and eat them for maximum deliciousness.

Usually red when mature, tomatoes can also come in a variety of colors, including yellow, orange, green and purple. After living in the south for many years, I’m more familiar with green tomatoes (especially of the fried variety). How should you store your tomatoes? If you purchase unripen tomatoes, remove the stems and store upside down on a plate at room temperature until fully ripen. Fully ripe tomatoes won’t last long and should be consumed as soon as possible. If you’re not going to eat them soon, refrigerate until ready for use, but let them come to room temperature when ready to eat. Tomatoes are a great source of: 

  • Vitamins C and K
  • Potassium
  • Folate
  • Fiber

TOMATOES will be in season from May through October, depending on where you live. View the list below to see when tomatoes are grown locally by some states.

  • Georgia, May to October
  • Illinois, July to October
  • Indiana, July to September
  • Iowa, July to September
  • Kentucky, July to September
  • Michigan, August to September
  • Missouri, July to October
  • North Carolina, July to October
  • Ohio, July to September
  • Pennsylvania, July to September
  • South Carolina, June to August
  • Tennessee, July to September
  • Wisconsin, August to September


Tomato, Cucumber and Onion Salad

When I think of fresh tomatoes, I think of a refreshing summer treat. Mom used to make a wonderful side dish with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and onions. It’s a simple, yet delicious dish!

Ingredients

  • Three fresh tomatoes, cut into small wedges
  • Three fresh cucumbers, peeled and sliced
  • One onion, peeled and sliced into rings
  • One cup of wager
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Two teaspoons of salt
  • One tablespoon ground pepper

Instructions

  • Whisk water, vinegar, oil, sugar, salt and pepper in large bowl until combined. Then, add tomatoes, cucumbers and onions. Stir until well blended.
  • Feel free to add your own finishing touches (ex. Feta, fresh cilantro, etc.)
  • Cover bowl and refrigerate at least two hours.
  • Enjoy as a snack on its own or as a lovely side dish!