16 August 2013

Tomatophiles Unite

Tomatoes, not even the endless culinary options, but the history of the plant causes me to bypass my natural inclination towards digression and just go full-on Cliffy Claven about the subject. Tomatoes, a fruit sold as a veg, a decision litigated in the famous Bush V. Tomato (not the name of the case, but the status of tomato was imagedecided by the Supreme Court to be a commercial veg for the purpose of taxation.) The plant, Solanum lycopersicum, is a member of the family that brings us eggplants, potatoes and nightshade – by custom and style guides, I’m obliged to point out that’s the deadly nightshade. Tomato’s ancestral homeland is in South America, but it was widely ignored in Peru and instead it was domesticated and improved in Central America before the Aztecs took tomatoes to a whole new level.

And farmers, gardeners and nurserymen have taken tomatoes to a point that would have impressed the Aztecs – modernity now offers 7,500 cultivated varieties. At high season, area markets offer about 25% of those varieties, seemingly. Okay realistically, there’ll be 100s of tomatoes; big, wee, orange, yellow, red, ‘black’ on hand at all markets this weekend. Salads, gazpacho, sauces, salsas and/or putting an emphatic T in BLT. It’s all there, waiting for you.

PSU tomatoes with basil, garlic, plus Pasta del Sol and red wine. Add nearby goat cheese and you’ll have ravioli in tomato basil sauce; now I’m hungry. Also PSU, Gabe Rosen of Biwa will be chef demoing at our Market.

Last week, we wrote about the passing of Prairie Creek Farm’s Gene Thiel (you can read more by scrolling down). Great news–Gene’s memorial/fundraiser dinner has sold out. Special thanks to the members of the PFM community who generously donated food to the event: Sun Gold Farm, Baird Family Farm, Gathering Together Farm, Portland Creamery, Kiyokawa Orchards, and Dancing Chicken. In other Prairie Creek news, smiling Chad Dermann, who mans the Prairie Creek booth and tirelessly works at booking music at all our PFM markets, became a dad for the first time recently. Many congratulations to Chad, see if you can barter diapers for potatoes when you see him.

imageOur friends from Green Zebra Grocery will be at the Kenton Market sharing Watermelon and Feta salad this week. Kenton is 3-7 on Friday nights, come for the evening, stay for the amenities of the neighborhood.

Bernadine's birthday bounty!

Bernadine’s birthday bounty!

We have neighborhood markets in SE and NW Portland every Thursday between 3 – 7. At the most recent Buckman Market, 102-year-old Bernardine (an awesome name), fulfilled her birthday wish by visiting the farmers market. See the news clip here. The Buckman Market is located at SE 20th & Salmon every Thursday through the end of September.

King is business as usual and Monday, don’t pack a lunch because, and stop me if you’ve heard this one before, tomatoes. Enjoy the golden days of summer with local foods.