My Winter Tomato Mountain CSA Gets Me Ready for Summer

February 16, 2015 at 10:35 am

Eat Local Later

winter tomatoes

At the height of the harvest season, you cannot finish all the produce stuffed into the Tomato Mountain* CSA box. The idea, with that bounty, is to put aside some for the dark, down months of the year. The locavore’s job is to constantly balance what’s around now with what should be around later, so make pickles some of those first ramps; pits and freezes the tart cherries for holiday pies; turns all that cabbage and peppers and leftover green tomatoes into relish, and cold stores plenty of beets, potatoes, onions and garlic to get by all year. The putting away does not stop come winter. Last week’s Tomato Mountain CSA box contained rutabagas, carrots, frost-kissed spinach, and frozen squash. I’ll be getting to those things soon, especially the spinach. The box also contained three quarts of whole roasted tomatoes. Thank you very much, but I’ll save those for later.

Whole roasted tomatoes are a great friend in the kitchen. Summer oozes from the jar as soon as its opened. I can make pasta sauce with the mere addition of sliced garlic or braise meats with pretty much no other additions. With just the idea of a good tomato months away, why not dig into my whole roasted tomatoes. Because whole roasted tomates go best with summer foods. We are most familiar with green beans braised in tomato sauce, but the same treatment works well with summer squash, greens, cabbage. Asparagus has a great affinity for tomatoes, you’ve probably seen recipes for tomatoes and asparagus. Then you wonder, what kind of place brings tomatoes and asparagus together at the same time. Surely not around here. Except with your jars of whole roasted tomatoes, you are ready to cook make it happen, the asparagus-tomato marriage you’ve only dreamt.

Tomato Mountain gives us plenty of their namesake tomatoes in their summer and fall CSA boxes. I live on variation of Turkish breakfast/Greek salad during that period.  When they cannot put tomatoes in the box they put jarred tomatoes in their boxes. Winter brings whole roasted tomatoes in the CSA.  They’re trying to treat us now. The illusion of summer in a snow-covered box. I am not fooled. I’m putting away these jars for later.

*Wife works for Tomato Mountain