There’s nothing like a ripe, juicy locally grown tomato — especially of the heirloom variety — to enhance your summer spread. Tomatoes add the zing to garden salads and brightness atop a burger. Perhaps you use them for a pico de gallo or a classic Italian sauce? With so many locally grown varieties, there are hundreds of ways to prepare tomatoes now that they’ve come back into season.
“Once we get the thumbs-up from the farm stand that tomatoes are in, it’s a celebration,” said Scott Bollman, chef and owner of Bruce & Son in Greenport. “We work with a lot of local farms to bring in a lot of different types of tomatoes to include in our dishes.”
Those offerings include Shakshuka, a spicy Israeli tomato stew with baked egg and tomato-based ratatouille accompanied by local summer squash.
Tomatoes are available through October. Get them locally at Cooper’s Farm in Mattituck, Long Season Farms in Aquebogue, 1760 Homestead Farm in Northville and Sujecki Farms and Nurseries in Calverton, among many other places.
Peppers, raspberries, cucumbers, peaches and melons are also in season this month.
What’s in Season is made possible by Farm Credit East.
• Tomatoes keep longer if you store them with their stems down.
• La Tomatina is an annual festival in Spain where people hurl 150,000 tomatoes at each other.
• Tomato seedlings have been grown in space.
• More than 10,000 tomato varieties are grown worldwide.
• Tomato Day is April 6.
• Tomatoes are the state fruit of Ohio and tomato juice is the state’s official beverage.
• Tomatoes are classed as a fruit not a vegetable.
• Can help maintain strong bones
• Reduces the risk of some cancers
• Provides essential antioxidants, such as lycopene, which is good for the heart
• Vitamin A found in tomatoes may improve vision
— According to The Mayo Clinic
Amount per 1 medium tomato:
Protein: 1 gram
Carbs: 5 grams
Sugar: 3 grams
Fiber: 2 grams
Fat: 0 grams
Vitamin C: 32% of RDI
Vitamin A: 25% of RDI
Vitamin K: 15% of RDI
Potassium: 10% of RDI
— According to the United States Department of Agriculture