Tomatoes are so expensive in California right now, even though the sun shines pretty much every day, and my little tomato plants in the garden seem to fruit without needing much help from me. Regular, non-organic, taste-free, pesticide-laden tomatoes at major stores like Vons cost around $3 per pound. So the big, beautiful, organic, heirloom, vine-ripened, ridiculously tasty, big fat tomatoes available at the Farmers’ Markets in SoCal for $3.50 per pound are a complete bargain, in comparison.
Even better, heirloom tomatoes – by their very nature – don’t keep well. They are picked at the point of perfect ripeness, and generally snapped up on the same day by eager L.A. gourmet shoppers. So what’s a tomato farmer to do at the end of the day with all the heirloom tomatoes that are slightly squishy, or too delicate to transport back to the farm for another day?
Well, luckily for me, I acquired pounds and pounds of these babies yesterday for free, and boy did they smell good when I roasted them with onion rings, sea salt, olive oil and whole cloves of garlic! I set the oven to 350 degrees and baked them for an hour, then drained off the juice and baked them for another 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
So here’s my top tip – get down to your local Farmers’ Market at the end of the day, and see if you can pick up some bulk buy bargains of the best produce you can find. Nature is truly bountiful right now, so roast ‘em and freeze ‘em ready for autumn sauces and stews.