On my way to work at Forest Home, I pass Jacinto Farms, on the corner of Mentone Blvd. and Crafton Ave. Last Friday, knowing that the Costillos were coming over to our place to celebrate the one year anniversary of the blind-date with fresh pasta and tomato sauce, I stopped in to see their produce. And immediately I was blown away by the selection and the beauty of their heirloom tomatoes. Having done most of my shopping at big supermarkets, I have never been impressed with tomatoes, but as you can see from the photo it is literally a rainbow of tomatoes at Jacinto Farms.
Given the momentous nature of the day in which was being celebrated, Claire and I decided that purchasing beautiful, fresh tomatoes felt more apropos than using tomatoes from a can. So on Saturday I returned to buy tomatoes. The farm even provides the names and a brief description of each variety, and since I was making a tomato sauce and wanted a deep rich flavor, I bought the darker varieties (I should have written down the names, but sadly forgot to).
As I was preparing the sauce I tasted the raw tomatoes and was again blown away by the flavor. I quickly called Claire over to try them. Again having lived so long on mass produced grocery ripened tomatoes, it had been a really long time since I had truly tasted the beauty of tomato. I was practically giddy with excitement. And as the sauce came together, it barely needed any season because of the depth and richness of the tomatoes.
At one point I exclaimed to Claire, “How amazing and bountiful is our God who has not given us merely one type of tomato but a cornucopia of different tomatoes each with a slightly different flavor and a beauty all onto its own!”
This past weekend, Claire’s best friend, Becky, came out to visit us and have dinner. So again I stopped by to pick up some more tomatoes. This time, I got a variety of color—yellow, orange and mahogany—to make a salad with. On each plate was a slice of the different tomatoes with a slice of Port Salut cheese in between (we still have quite a bit left over from our wedding). I simply drizzled the plates with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar and a little sea salt. Very simple, but when you have such beautiful produce, there is no need to do too much with it.
What is also great about the little shop, they sell the tomatoes that are getting a little too ripe for a dollar per pound, so I got a few pounds to make soup with. So if you don’t mind I am off to enjoy more tomato goodness before the season is over.