Locally grown tomatoes will soon disappear from Northern California farmer's markets, as autumn apples, pears, persimmons and winter squash take the place of summer produce. Each season has its delights, but saying goodbye to summer favorites is never easy.
There is still time to celebrate "the tomato, star of earth" as the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda refers to it. Now is the time to stock up on the last of the crop. Dry- farmed tomatoes are a good choice; they are hardy and flavorful and their low water content makes them ideal for storage. Select those which are deeply pigmented and still firm.
Make sure that the tomatoes are not damp or bruised. Place them in a paper or plastic bag, leaving it partially open to allow some air circulation. Properly handled, tomatoes will keep in the fridge for two or three weeks. Check them daily and select the ripest ones for immediate use.
Freshly blended tomato juice is a nutritious, simple and delicious way to make use of ultra ripe tomatoes. A handful of dry- farmed tomatoes will make one generous serving of juice.
Autumn Fresh Tomato Juice
4- 5 ripe tomatoes, washed and quartered
optional garnishes: lime juice, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
Place tomatoes in blender and process until smooth. Serve in a glass, with or without garnish. If the day is chilly, briefly heat juice in a saucepan over a low flame until just warm.
Ode To Tomatoes by Pablo Neruda (excerpt)
the table, at the midpoint
star of earth, recurrent
and fertile star,
displays its convolutions,
its remarkable amplitude
no leaves or thorns,
the tomato offers
of fiery color
and cool completeness."