Saturday, March 26, 2011
A Sure Sign of Spring: The Local Hothouse Tomato
See this? It is a Den Haan's hothouse tomato. It is not from Mexico, has not traveled thousands of miles to get here and is not months old. It looks like a tomato. It smells like a tomato. It even tastes like a tomato! Hallelujah! More sure than even the sight of Roll-Up-the-Rim cups littering the highways, its presence at your local grocery store is a sure sign of spring in Nova Scotia.
I really do limit my tomato consumption in winter. Den Haan's takes a break from growing during the darkest months, and tomatoes from Florida and Mexico are picked by people in seriously undesirable working conditions. You can read the article Politics of the Plate:The Price of Tomatoes here. Plus, they taste bad, not an insignificant factor for me.
Den Haan's tomatoes are as close as we can get right now to full garden flavour, and I'm grateful to them for providing this to us! We have been enjoying them chopped up and folded into scrambled eggs in the last minute of cooking, in thick slices on toast with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and diced into a simple and delicious fresh salsa.
Union Street Salsa
At the Cafe, we make this in quantity with good quality canned tomatoes . It's great. But this, made minutes before consumption, is superb. You substitute 1 can diced tomatoes, drained slightly, if all the tomatoes at your store are imports.
2 C. chopped Tomato
1/4 C. minced Red or Yellow Onion
1 small Green Pepper, diced
1/4 C. Banana Peppers, minced
1 t. Cumin, toasted and ground
1/4 C. chopped fresh Cilantro
1/4 t. Salt
Combine in a bowl and taste. Add a little more salt if you like, maybe a dash of hot sauce, maybe a smidgen of garlic. Welcome spring!