It is officially tomato season on our farm and in our county. The legend of the “Hanover tomato” is large, not unlike many of the plump red tomatoes grown here and sold up and down the east coast as “Hanovers”. Every year, our county hosts its official Hanover Tomato Festival on the 2nd Saturday in July. If you’re brave enough to attend, you can eat and purchase Hanovers by the bushel, and catch the crowning of Little Miss Hanover Tomato in all her red tomato splendor!
Agricultural historians in the area tell of the Mantlo brothers who in the 50′s, performed some horticultural miracle with their tomatoes, which made it ripen faster so they could be the first farmers to have them at the historic 17th Street Farmers Market in Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom. Farmers and others speak of the county’s climate and particularly the low ph of the sandy coastal-plain soil that influences the quality (flavor & acidity) of the fruit–which, like wine is about terroir. The legend may be just that, a legend, though whatever the reason, ’tis the season!
If one red fruit is not enough of a reason to be celebrate summer, then maybe our red sugar baby watermelons will seal the deal? Crisp, sweet, seeded, and small enough to pack into a picnic basket, these sugar babies are perfect for lazy summer breakfasts, lunches and dinner, or anytime in between. While we have no “Hanover watermelon” legend to tell of, we can tell you that it’s grown without chemicals and harvested at its peak, which are hard to come by around these parts.
Produce items available this week are basil, the last of the our beets, carrots, napa cabbage, green and savoy cabbage, collards, cucumbers (picklers, slicers, lemon & striped Armenian), bell eggplant, fennel, curly kale, Tuscan kale, red Russian kale, Siberian kale, kohlrabi, leeks, mint, red & yellow onions, jalapeño peppers, red & Yukon gold potatoes, summer squash, salad mix, rainbow & candy cane Swiss chard, red cherry & sungold tomatoes, purple cherokee & brandywine heirloom tomatoes, Roma & Hanover red tomatoes (bulk quantities also available to CSA members), watermelons, and eggs.
Click here for a simple tomato and burrata salad recipe. View more farm photographs here; like and review us on Facebook; and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.
Our world is littered with poems about and ode’s to tomatoes. Though, not so for watermelons. An exquisite gem to be savored is by the Serbian-American U.S. Poet Laureate, Charles Simic. He once discussed his creative process as this: “When you start putting words on the page, an associative process takes over. And, all of a sudden, there are surprises. All of a sudden you say to yourself, ‘My God, how did this come into your head? Why is this on the page?’ I just simply go where it takes me.” Here’s where writing about watermelons took him.
On the fruit stand.
We eat the smile
And spit out the teeth.
Be well, eat healthy, and be kind to yourself and others.