The independent student news site of San Diego Mesa College.

The Mesa Press

The Mesa Press

The independent student news site of San Diego Mesa College.

Breaking News
  • February 27Mysterious burning smell permeates campus; cause under investigation
  • December 17Acting Chancellor Smith named new permanent SDCCD chancellor
  • December 17Women's Volleyball claims state title

The Mesa Press

The Mesa Press

Locally Sourced Meals: Heirloom tomatoes are at the top of this season’s bounty

From the deep red Brandywines to the brightly colored Pineapple and Green Zebras, heirloom tomatoes are quickly becoming a hot commodity and the prom queens of this year’s summer harvest.

Despite the fact that the season will soon be coming to a close, some of the major players in the local farmer’s markets right now are heirloom varietals of tomatoes.

With cultivar names like Mr. Stripey, Green Zebra, Mortgage Lifter and Moneymaker, it is easy to see how heirloom tomatoes have grown a cult-like following. In addition to their quaint names, heirlooms tend to have a greater depth of flavor and their vibrant, varying colors lend themselves well to plate presentation.

Heirloom tomatoes are considered to be a more sustainable fruit as they tend to be grown organically and are open-pollinated as opposed to conventional, hybrid tomatoes. This natural form of pollination has created tomatoes that are regionally popular and full-flavored, but aren’t
always perfect in appearance.

Story continues below advertisement

When purchasing heirloom tomatoes, color will not be uniform, but you should look for firm, unbroken skins. Cracks are naturally occurring and ripe tomatoes should not smell sour, flat or moldy.

The nutrients that are found in heirloom tomatoes include iron, potassium, fiber, B vitamins and lycopene, which may help to prevent cancer and other diseases. When cooked, the lycopene present in tomatoes can be absorbed more efficiently into the body, according to Wholeliving.com.

Instead of purchasing these beautiful fruits from the supermarket, decrease your carbon footprint by visiting one of the weekly farmers markets in your neighborhood. The Valdivia Farm stand of Carlsbad can be found at the Coronado Farmers Market on Tuesday afternoons and currently stocks several varieties of heirloom tomatoes.

To accompany your tomatoes, try them in a salad with local cheese from Spring Hill Cheese Company, sliced in a grilled panini with ripe avocado slices or lightly cooked with basil and garlic as a simple pasta sauce.

A variety of heirloom tomatoes for sale at the Valdivia Farm's booth at the Coronado Island Farmer's Market on Tuesday, August 30, 2011. Photo Credit: Lauren J. Mapp/The Mesa Press

 

Recipe: Sweet and Salty Caprese
Serves 4

2 Medium Heirloom tomatoes (from Valdivia Farms)
4 Thin Slices of Prosciutto
¼ cup organic garlic cheese curds (from Spring Hill Cheese Company)
4 cup arugula, rinsed and dried
3 basil leaves
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
French gray sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cut each heirloom tomato into 10 wedges and slice basil leaves into a thin chiffonade.

On 4 small appetizer plates, divide arugulainto 1 cup portions on the end of each plate. Slice prosciutto into ribbons and place on top of the bed of arugula, along with garlic cheese curds.

Arrange tomato wedges next to the arugula, alternating colors if using to different cultivars. Drizzle salads with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, then sprinkle with gray sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish salads with basil.

 

The sweet and complex flavors of the Ananas Noir and Yellow Copia cultivars of heirloom tomatoes create a playful balance when paired with the proscuitto and locally sourced garlic cheese curds in this salad. Photo Credit: Lauren J. Mapp/The Mesa Press

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Mesa Press
$120
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of San Diego Mesa College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

Donate to The Mesa Press
$120
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

Here at The Mesa Press, we want to foster a community for civil discussions. We welcome your insight and perspective. Comments posted must be appropriate for all ages. Any profanity or cursing is prohibited. That includes any attempts to curse with special characters (!@#) or spacing. Discuss and criticize ideas. We don’t allow comments that intend to intimidate, demean or harass other readers in any way.
All The Mesa Press Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *