Back in 2011, Island Grown Schools started a Harvest of the Month program to highlight a locally available seasonal crop each month in school cafeterias and grocery stores. The goal was to teach children, families, and the Island community about healthy, seasonal foods while helping to support local farms.
Our first ever Harvest of the Month crop was the tomato — the sweet, colorful prize of late summer. I’ve heard many people say that tomatoes grown on-Island are some of the best. Some say it’s the salt in the air or something in the soil that gives them that special flavor. Visit your local farm stand and explore the different shapes and colors, from tiny red and gold cherry tomatoes to giant multicolored heirlooms.
When you walk into the Farmers Market at this time of year, you are greeted by tomatoes: red, green, yellow, purple, orange, little cherries, big slicers, and everything in between. Buy a pint of cherries and add them to a kebab with diced cheese and cucumber for a healthy lunchbox snack. Toss diced multi-colored tomatoes with basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar for a delicious side dish. Chopped tomatoes can add flavor to soups and stir-fries. You can also try your hand at making homemade salsa, or make a local tomato sandwich with fresh mozzarella, basil, pesto, and balsamic vinaigrette. The possibilities are endless at this time of year.
Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes, Corn, and Basil
Recipe by Maura Martin and Austin Racine of Mo’s Lunch
3-4 big, ripe tomatoes, chopped into rough chunks
1-2 ears fresh corn, kernels cut off
1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
2 cloves garlic, crushed or thinly sliced ¼-⅓ cup nice extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. pasta (fresh preferred, and makes this dish extra-delicious)
zest and juice of 1 lemon
Mix tomatoes, corn, basil, garlic, and olive oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Let marinate.
While tomato mixture rests, cook pasta according to directions. Drain pasta and toss directly into the bowl of vegetables. Add lemon zest, some lemon juice, and toss. Taste and season with more salt, pepper, or lemon juice if needed.