‘climb every mountain…’

March 2, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Editor’s Note: We are on a mission. We want you to eat local. We know that the best way to create a local system is to have a system of people who want to eat local. So, when we find someone like Moira Tuffy, already so enthusiastic about markets and eating local, we knew we wanted you to meet her. We think Moira will help inspire you to eat local and help our mission. Look soon for more contributions by Moira to the Beet. To get yourself a bit acquainted with Moira’s love of farmer’s markets, go to her blog, To Market with Mo.

S4010469March. Hum, still winter in Chicago. Still three months until summer begins. And still five months before tomato season begins. I don’t know about you, but right about now I start going thru (ok, really started after I ate my last homegrown tomato in early October) MAJOR real vine-ripened tomato withdrawal. No, do not tell me to just pick some up at the grocery store. Oh, you mean those unripe, ethylene-manipulated tomato impostors? No. Those. Just. Won’t. Do.

I will eat real vine-ripened tomatoes, from the farmers market, or from my backyard, during the season, until I have the worst acid-stomach, and acid-burned tongue, from all my fresh tomato over-indulgence. Now, ask me to eat the out-of-season, grocery-store variety, well you can forget about it. When I eat a tomato, I want to taste summer, not mealy, tasteless mush.

Enough of my rant. I have found the solution for us tomato loving purists…Tomato Mountain Organics. Growing, and harvesting the best, and ripest tomatoes (and other ingredients) and transforming them into what I like to think of ‘summer in a jar.’  Tomato based salsas, pasta sauce, soup, preserves, juice and wow, the best Bloody Mary mix, ever. Tomato Mountain Farm, located about a 2 1/2 hour drive north into Wisconsin, is not only the farm that organically grows all of the ingredients, and picks them at the peak of freshness, but they also process all of their jarred products, in their own processing kitchen…hence, why all of their products taste like jars of sunshine.

And where can you find these jars of summer? Not to worry, you don’t have to wait until the next farmer’s market day (though Tomato Mountain can be found at a number of them). Head on over to the Chicago Downtown Farmstand, or a number of other retailers listed on the Tomato Mountain website, or place an online order directly with Tomato Mountain. I would be willing to bet that any of their products will hold you over until tomato season…hum, now suddenly craving a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup lunch…

p.s. speaking of winter markets, the next Green City Market takes place on March 12th. The next Glenwood Sunday Market is on March 13th , and the Logan Square winter market with continue every Sunday thru March 27th.

Know of any other markets coming up? Post a comment.



  1. Wow–thanks for the shout out! Because of the vision and tenacity of farmer Chris Covelli, our wonderful certified organic tomato-based products are available year-round. One piece of information hidden in your description of our products is that our on-farm kitchen only operates during the growing season, so we process only when we can get the ingredients fresh from our own harvest and then try to anticipate the off-season needs.

    My favorite meal these days using our products is a bowl of Tomato Soup with Shallots and a grilled cheese sandwich. I garnish the soup with croutons I make from any great bread (like Crumb Chicago’s jalapeno-cheddar…yum) and some crumbled hard goat cheese or shaved parmesan. For the sandwich, I use the nuttiest whole wheat bread I can find, Pepper Jack cheese, and smear the bread (inside) with our Sun Gold jam. The sweet, cool jam and the spicy cheese…mmm mmm good.

    Unfortunately, our Sun Gold Preserves were so popular–and are quite time-consuming to make–that supplies are very low until we can make more in late July or early August. By then, we’ll have the real thing (fresh Sun Gold tomatoes) available at a few summer markets. Now there’s a treat!

    Again, thanks for the kind words. We have a list of indoor winter markets in addition to those mentioned where you can find us and many other wonderful local growers and producers.

  2. Moira says:

    Sun Gold Jam on the grilled cheese?!? Now I am really hungry!

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