This week I spent most of the day harvesting the many varieties of tomatoes from the field and hoop houses. Unfortunately due to our inexact organization of the tomato seedlings we have all the different varieties planted together but it keeps the picking interesting. Another volunteer and I collected 10 gallons of tomatoes and we only stopped because our buckets were full! I was amazed at the variety of colors and shapes we had, John did a great job of choosing from the wide spectrum of shapes, sizes and colors of tomatoes that exist. We even have a lot of rare and heirloom varieties I’ve never seen or heard of. We are trying to save seeds from each variety so we don’t have to purchase seeds next year. Doing so also helps select for plants that do well in VT. This week in the newsletter I wrote about some of the different varieties we have and I thought I would continue the list here. [Check out the newsletter at the bottom of this post for more tomato information!]
Cosmonaut Volkov – Heirloom tomato from the Ukraine, named after a Russian cosmonaut. Large, red fruits.
Glacier – Early producing tomato with red, medium sized fruit. Will bear all season in most climates.
Jubilee – Large, colorful, orange-yellow fruits.
Orange Strawberry – One of our most unique tomatoes. This plant produces a large strawberry-shaped orange tomato. It’s an heirloom varitey from the United States. Also great for sandwiches.
Rose de Berne – Perfect tomato flavor. Dark pink Swiss heirloom tomato.
Scotia – Cool-weater red tomato from Nova Scotia.
Tommy Toe – Red cherry tomato from Australia. This plant is resistant to most tomato diseases.
Also at the farm this week, Dan was back and he and John expanded the farm stand. We hope to be able to store the tractor, tools, and other farm equipment in there over the winter. In the spring we can use it for potting up, storage, and as a nice shady gathering place. Here’s a picture of the men at work:
With all the bounty from the farm and in my own small garden plot at home, we’ve all been struggling with how to preserve the harvest so it doesn’t go to waste. I like to freeze corn, green beans, peas, and summer squash to use in different recipes. The squash is perfect to add to spaghetti sauce or in a lasagna since it looses it’s integrity once you freeze and unfreeze it. I’ve also been freezing seeded whole tomatoes until I have enough to cook up a sauce, which I did last night. When they thaw the skins come right off and you don’t have to mess with boiling and an ice bath. Here’s the recipe I used:
Spaghetti Sauce made with Fresh Tomatoes
- 5 cups seeded, skinned, and chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup each of diced onion, carrot, bell pepper (red, green, yellow, or a mix), and celery
- 5 cloves of chopped garlic
- 5 tablespoons tomato paste (I use the kind in a tube that you can keep in the refrigerator, much easier than a can)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and butter
First, heat up the olive oil and butter in a nice big pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, carrot and celery and cook until they start to soften. You do not want to brown the vegetables so turn the heat down if they start to. Once the vegetables are soft (about 10 – 15 minutes) add the tomato paste and cook for a few minutes.
Then add the chopped tomatoes. Turn the heat to low and cook covered for approx. 1 hour, to make sure the sauce doesn’t burn on the bottom turn as low as possible. After and hour remove the cover and simmer for another hour. By this time the sauce should be thick, like spaghetti sauce. Cool and blend or pass through a food mill (use the medium-holed plate). Then refrigerate (2-3 days) or freeze.
You can also add basil (fresh or dried), fresh oregano, or parsley (fresh or dried). If you want less vegetables add half the amount listed of each or twice the tomatoes. I use a food mill to smooth out the sauce but you could blend all or part of it in the blender to make it smoother or leave it chunky if that’s how you like it.
Finally, here’s the newsletter for this week in case you haven’t seen it yet!