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The Oak Park Farmers Market, offering high quality, locally-grown produce, is held in the Pilgrim Church Parking lot at 460 Lake St. from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday through October. Call for a free pickup and ride to the Market (Tel. 708. 383.4806). Please call before 2:00pm on Friday.

This week’s blog was written by Katie Weaver, a Registered Dietitian and Market Commissioner. Please note our Market tomatoes are not gassed. It is true that many of the tomatoes you purchase at stores have been gassed. Since store tomatoes must be shipped green (unripe), the green tomatoes are then ripened artificially by exposing them to ethylene gas. Which is just another reason to purchase your food at farmers markets, where there is no need to gas the tomatoes as they are picked fresh and ripe. Our farmers do not need to worry about their delicate heirloom tomatoes traveling for days in a truck and being bruised.

-Colleen McNichols

MARKET HIGHLIGHTS:

Upcoming events:

  • Pie Bake-Off on Sept. 7 (enter to compete here Pie Bake-off Application 2019, application is also available on our website)
  • Stone Soup giveaway, closing day, Oct. 26
  • Knives sharpened every week at American Pride Microgreens booth
  • Live Music, every week, starting at 9:00am
  • Church donuts, coffee (iced and hot), OJ, every week

Bake Sale: Oak Park River Forest Wrestling 

Vendor update:  Greenfire Farm is back with their Wisconsin pasture-raised, grassfed (all the way through finishing), antibiotic and hormone free, sustainable, restorative ag meat and eggs and Swiss style yogurt. Herbally Yours makes their bi-monthly appearance so you may stock up on their seasoned vinegars and herb mixes, all created from their homegrown herbs.

Tomato Mania, Hold the Gas by Katie Weaver

Every year at the start of Farmer’s Market season, I begin anticipating tomato season.  I begin picturing the juicy, meaty tomatoes that are available each summer, and start planning the dishes I want to make. I was not always tomato-obsessed. As a child I thought that tomatoes tasted the way pumpkins smelled – not great. I avoided them at all cost, picked them off of every burger and sandwich.  Then during a high school trip to France, I had a fresh spinach and tomato salad and finally knew what all the fuss was about. I called home and announced that I now love tomatoes and could not wait to eat more of them. In college, I started my love of a simple tomato, mayonnaise, and basil sandwich, simply out of avoiding a trip to the grocery store.  I’d eat them for days in a row, totally satisfied. Now every year, I wait, and wait for that first tomato, mayo, and basil sandwich on the best bread I can get. I love farm fresh tomatoes so much that I avoid grocery store tomatoes because the tomatoes at the grocery store just don’t live up to the farm fresh ones in terms of flavor, texture, and color.  Nothing can compare to a farm fresh tomato. Plus, they’re packed with potassium, Vitamins A and C, and an antioxidant called lycopene.

On Saturday I was on a mission to buy a couple different kinds of tomatoes, and boy it was a tough choice.  I wanted to buy all the tomatoes. The beefsteaks, the heirlooms, the Romas, the cherries, the list goes on… I decided to go for my go-to heirlooms from Prairie Wind Farm. I love all the different colors from bright yellow to a dark green-red that is almost purple. Then I decided to try a new tomato from Tomato Mountain, the Verona, which look like mini Roma tomatoes.  The farmer let me taste one before I bought a quart. I took a bite and it tasted like someone had made the most perfect tomato sauce and put it inside this little red tomato. I couldn’t wait to figure out what to do with them.  

So far with the tomatoes I have, I’ve made the tomato sandwich, bruschetta, and a barely cooked tomato sauce.  I’ve also eaten them on breakfast tacos and sandwiches. These are all very simple recipes with just a couple of ingredients, which you can find below.  I used the heirlooms for the tomato sandwich and bruschetta. I love the rainbow of colors I can get into a bowl of diced tomatoes and basil. Since my first bite of Veronas was so inspiring, I used them to make the quick tomato sauce. I hope you enjoy the recipes. I’ll just be over here, making more tomato sandwiches and daydreaming about more ways to use the rest of my tomatoes.

MARKET READY RECIPES BY KATIE WEAVER

Tomato Sandwich (serves 1)

Bread (I prefer a chunk of baguette, but a couple of slices of a wider loaf of bread works too) (Breadman or Katic Breads)

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1-2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • Fresh basil, chiffonade (dried basil will also work)

Instructions:

Slice the baguette open. Slice the tomato into 4 or more slices. Put mayonnaise on both pieces of bread. Lay the tomatoes on one piece of bread, top with basil. Top the sandwich with the other piece of bread. IF you must add something else to the sandwich, maybe a protein source, I’d suggest a slice of provolone cheese.  You don’t want anything that will get in the way of the tomato flavor.

Tomato Bruschetta

Ingredients:

  • 1 baguette, sliced on the bias
  • 3-4 medium or large tomatoes, small dice
  • 2 or more garlic cloves (depending on preference), minced
  • 2-3 Tbsp of fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions:

Pre-heat the oven. You can either broil the crostini, or if you’re prone to burning food (like me), toast them in the oven at 400 degrees.  Slice the baguette on an angle to give you more surface area to hold the tomatoes. Brush or spray the slices on both sides with olive oil. Lay them flat on a pan, then cook until both sides are golden, flipping halfway through. Around 10 minutes total if you’re toasting at 400 degrees. If you are broiling them, they’ll take about 2 minutes per side.

Dice the tomatoes (about a ¼ in x ¼ in). You want them small so you can stack a lot of tomatoes onto one piece of bread. Discard the seeds. Put them in a bowl with the minced garlic and roughly chopped basil. Drizzle with olive oil until the olive oil just coats everything. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and stir. Let the tomatoes sit until you are ready to serve or the crostini are cooled. Top each crostini with a generous spoonful of tomatoes. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

Fresh Tomato Sauce with Bucatini

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart Verona tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 large cloves garlic, mined
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Bucatini pasta, cooked al dente
  • Reserved pasta water (~1/2 cup)
  • 1 handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • Salt to taste.
  • Fresh Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)

Directions:

Place the quartered tomatoes in a large food processor and pulse until somewhat evenly crushed. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Add the tomatoes, garlic, and the reserved pasta water and heat gently. Add the cooked pasta and stir until the pasta is evenly coated with sauce and some of the water has evaporated. Stir in a couple of small pinches of salt to taste. Fold in fresh chopped basil.  Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. 

Oak Park Farmers’ Market is committed to equal access to high-quality fresh food. We believe that anyone who wants to eat locally grown and produced food should be able to, regardless of their income level. Therefore; we accept SNAP/LINK cards for payment. We match each dollar spent with a Link card with a one dollar coupon (up to $25.00 per Market day). In addition, we accept WIC and Senior vouchers, as well. To learn more about our equitable programs visit our website:

http://www.oak-park.us/our-community/oak-park-farmers-market

REMINDER: Please remember to bring your yogurt containers or storage containers to bring your berries and fruit home. Keep your bag clean and berries safely protected. We have given out all of our compostable shopping bags, so please remember to grab your bags on the way out of the door,

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