This year in the Northeast, it seems that the tomatoes are abundant and exceptionally delicious. I learned from my neighbor, who is a farmer, that the drought we experienced contributed to the abundance of tomatoes – it seems that tomatoes like dry conditions.
My neighbor’s farm is one of the only farms left in Nassau County. Rottkamp’s Farm is a real gem. Although the farm is not an organic farm, I believe buying locally grown can be more important in some instances than buying organic, especially when you can enjoy produce picked the same day – the flavor is one benefit, but considering that most of the produce we purchase is picked anywhere from 5-7 days before it gets to the store, the nutritional value of fresh picked produce can’t be beat. Buying locally grown food also is much kinder on the environment. There is no need for all the energy that is used for packaging and transporting, and the diversity of crops typical of local small farms is much healthier for the environment for many reasons. And of course another benefit is that you are supporting the local economy.
One of the first things you see when you get to the farm is a field of corn, with rows of sunflowers growing in the distance. The corn is amazing. The first summer after I adopted a raw vegan lifestyle, I missed running down to the farm to get 4-5 ears of freshly picked sweet corn for dinner. It was not until later that year that I learned that I could eat the corn raw. And how delicious it is! I don’t know why anyone would eat it any other way, especially since I typically burned the roof of my mouth because I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into the fresh cooked corn.
The heirloom tomatoes are also amazing. This year’s crop was so abundant that my neighbor gave me a box of “seconds” because they were going to end up in the compost. I decided to make marinara sauce and gazpacho. In my quest to find a good gazpacho recipe, I came upon the one below, which I modified a bit to make it raw vegan.
There’s much much more at Rottkamp’s farm. Some of my favorites are their melons, particularly the watermelon (sweet and crisp), kale, basil (huge bunches with the roots intact), zucchini – both green and yellow, “cheese” peppers – very sweet, and an incredible variety of squash.
I’ll return with some ways to enjoy raw squash, but for now, here’s something you can do if you can get a few pounds of freshly picked tomatoes.
adapted from Epicurious.com
1-2 cloves garlic
2 tsp. Himalayan or Celtic sea salt
2 Tbs. Sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon organic raw sugar or evaporated cane juice
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
2 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded and quartered
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Place all the ingredients except the olive oil in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Add the olive oil and blend again,
- Optional – pass the soup through a sieve. This step is unnecessary if you are using a high-speed blender.
Transfer to a covered glass container and chill until cold – about 3 hours. Garnish with diced cucumber.
Note: This soup freezes well. I pour it into gallon zipper bags and lay it in the freezer. Thaw it out and then blend it again before serving.