Harvest of the Month: Tomatoes


I will always remember the moment that I ate the first tomato that I had ever grown, warmed from the sun and picked straight from the farm where I was working as a field hand. I had planted the seeds back on a cold March day and weeded, pruned, and fed the plants for months. I was rewarded with the sweetest, most juicy fruit. I had never experienced anything like this before and still eagerly await the tomato rush of August and September each year.

There are so many ways to enjoy tomatoes at this time of year! Freshly made tomato jam in a grilled cheese is at the top of the list this year. The tomato jam cooks down in less than 45 minutes and once you’ve found a basic recipe you like, you can add in flavors such as thyme, cinnamon, or various hot peppers. Or, on a cool evening, drizzle cherry tomatoes and garlic with oil and slow roast them until they caramelize, then blend them up with Parmesan and basil to make a delectable sauce for pasta, pizza, or dipping.

Try this Panzanella Salad recipe by Robin Forte to highlight all of the great end of summer tomatoes at the farmer’s market and farm stands right now!

Panzanella Salad

1 ½ to 2 lbs. tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
½ cup purple onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

⅓ cup red wine vinegar
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

¼ cup fresh parsley, minced
2 tsp. fresh thyme, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
½ tsp red pepper flakes, optional
2 cups crusty Italian style bread cut into 1-inch cubes, day old or slightly stale is good

Preheat oven to 400℉.

In a large bowl, combine parsley, thyme, garlic, and Parmesan cheese. Add olive oil, and stir well until combined. Add bread cubes and toss to coat. Arrange seasoned bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, approximately 8-10 minutes. Cool completely.

Combine tomato, onion, and basil with croutons and toss with dressing. Allow to sit for an hour before serving.