Central Ohioans really do get hosed when it comes to tomatoes!
When I was younger, I didn't remember the difference - the taste, the texture. I would go ahead and buy those picked-too-early red rocks at the grocery store, take them home, stick them in the fridge and add them to salads and sandwiches. Then, I remembered.
I remembered the taste of a warm tomato fresh off the vine, eating it like an apple in the middle of the garden.
And I became a tomato snob. Oh, I'll occasionally buy a package of cherry or grape tomatoes in the middle of the winter because I want those red things in my salad. I'm always disappointed. Other than that, I don't buy tomatoes unless they were grown close to me. Fortunately, there's a hydroponic tomato farm about 4 miles down the road in Sparta. Buckeye Produce's tomatoes are usually ready around the beginning of May and I stand on tiptoe when I'm at the Mount Vernon market, waiting for signs of life in their little spot on the square. Then, it's BLTs for dinner! In Columbus, if you buy tomatoes at Carfagna's or Hills Market that say "Ohio tomatoes" on the sign, you are eating these tomatoes.
When we pulled into the Mount Vernon market to set up last Saturday, I was shocked to see sweet corn! LOCAL sweet corn! I asked Richard (the farmer) if he sprinkled fairy dust on the fields because Knox County doesn't usually see sweet corn before July 15. We got a dozen to take to the river and it was summer in our hands. OK, it was 90 degrees in the shade but the corn was crisp, sweet, dripping with butter, salt and pepper. We also got our first local field tomatoes - even better than hydros.
With the visit to the river (and Mom's insistence on sending things back with us) I now have too many veggies! Not really, but I've got all I need for a few more days.
I will probably pick up a few more small summer squash this weekend to make a Farmers Market dinner Saturday night. So simple, all homemade and perfect for a hot summer evening! Try the honey-lemon salad dressing - the easiest thing I've ever made, fat-free and refreshing!
Simple Summer Farmers Market Dinner - ENJOY!