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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

You Say "Tomato," I Say "Let's Eat!"

Although Lyn, Tara, and I (Susan) are city girls at heart, we always enjoy venturing out to more rural corners of New England to see - and taste - local food. Our latest adventure was road tripping to Red Fire Farm in Granby for the 12th Annual Tomato Festival. (Lyn and Tara went last year, so check out Lyn's recap if you're curious.)

After a looong drive (thanks to students heading back to UMass, I'm told), our first order of business was sampling grilled corn and potatoes. If there is anything more deliciously satisfying than sweet corn at its peak grilled outdoors and brushed with butter and herbs, I haven't tasted it. Then we lay on the grass soaking in the late summer sun and admiring a toddler whose parents had appropriately chosen a tomato hat to shield the adorable kiddo's skin (alas, we couldn't get close enough for a photo without seeming totally creepy).

We also sampled the seemingly endless varieties of tomatoes, many of which had crazy names like Aunt Ginny purple Russian or Julia Child (I am not making these up!). They asked us to vote by placing stickers on our favorite varieties, but we had a hard time choosing. Personally, my favorites tended to be in the cherry tomato section because their size and sweetness is perfect for snacking.

Later, we watched a demonstration on grain milling for home use by Ben Lester from Pioneer Valley Heritage Grain and Wheatberry Cafe (Lyn got a huge kick out of that she she's a grain CSA member) and we picked our own tomatoes and other produce.

Here is where I admit that while I thoroughly enjoy eating local produce and even visiting a farm, I am not cut out to actually be a farmer. We were probably picking tomatoes and basil and tomatillos for less than an hour, but man, is it hard work! And man, is it hot in those fields! The reward, though, was when I got home and made homemade pesto with the basil I picked, added some cherry tomatoes (which I also picked) and ate it atop whole wheat pasta. Yum!

Check out more of Tara's fabulous photos on our Facebook page.

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