The Franklin County Farmers’ Market is putting on anotherPop-Up Winter Market this Saturday, January 25, where we’ll be unveiling a couple of new products that we think will bring some sunshine to your winter: Roasted Tomato Juice and Pomodoro Tomato Jelly!
Over the summer, during peak tomato season, we slow-roasted our heirloom plum tomatoes to coax out as much flavor as possible, and canned the intense juice for a burst of tomato goodness any time of year. We think of the juice as a secret ingredient to add multi-layered tomato flavor—sweetness, tartness, and complexity—to all kinds of cooking. We use it like an intense stock: as the base of a soup, in a marinade, to cook grains, or to add an extra splash of flavor when roasting vegetables. Its high acid content makes it perfect for deglazing, as well. (Be aware that the acid in the tomato juice can affect the cooking of some beans and grains, so when in doubt, add the juice to already-cooked beans and grains). We like to experiment with the Roasted Tomato Juice and play in the kitchen and hope you do, too. Try it in this savory oatmeal recipe!
We also made some of the magical tomato juice into a really neat golden jelly that somehow has an almost honey-like or apple-like quality. It’s hard to describe the nuanced flavors that come through the Pomodoro Tomato Jelly—you’ll just have to try some!
You may have read about Dandelion Ridge Farm’s jar return program on the back of your canned good labels; for each jar returned to us, we will make a donation to a relevant cause. Roasted Tomato Juice jars prompt a donation to the Edible Schoolyard Program, which fosters a network of thousands of school gardens around the world, and creates edible education curricula. When you return a Pomodoro Jelly jar, we donate to the World Vegetable Center. This global non-profit develops nutrient-dense vegetable varieties and promotes efficient production methods to combat poverty and improve nutrition around the world. It also maintains an enormous bank of seeds and other plant genetic material, including about 12,000 specimens from indigenous vegetables around the world.
Seed saving, selecting, and sharing over the generations have developed an enormous diversity of vegetable varieties suited to the different situations, environments, needs, and priorities of the growers and their communities. Seed banks and libraries are invaluable repositories and caregivers of plant biodiversity that might otherwise be lost for reasons ranging from disuse and improper storage to natural disasters and climate change. This week, I learned about a beautiful art project celebrating and exploring the biodiversity within seed banks: Dornith Doherty’s Archiving Eden. Currently on display in Toronto, this interactive exhibition encourages visitors to exchange X-ray images of seeds with actual seeds of Canadian crops and wild plants. I was fascinated to learn of Doherty’s work here and hope you’ll find it inspiring, too!
Here at Dandelion Ridge Farm, we’re spending the winter doing all the work that there isn’t time for during the peak growing season. Kevin is wiring our greenhouse for electrical, so we can finally turn on the chandelier we have hanging in there (and run fans, heat mats, and the other practical pieces)! We’re planning for next season, learning from conferences like the Kentucky Fruit & Vegetable Growers Conference this past week, and doing lots of record-keeping and other office work—not the most glamorous and fun part of farming, but almost as vital as the planting, weeding, and harvesting! We’ve been working with the wonderful folks at Kentucky Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (KCARD) on business planning, and are also preparing all the records needed to apply for organic certification this spring.