I’ve grown tomatoes from seed. Well, a tomato so far, a single tear-drop, appearing a bit lonely but tenaciously hanging in (ahem):
I planted tomato and basil seeds on March 14. The basil had always flourished, while the tomato plant came from more humble beginnings. It suffered through a considerable amount of legginess and demanded more sunlight than my small condo could provide at times. But once we moved, the plant refreshed, sprouting small yellow flowers in early July. The bees had a chance to pollinate and in about 4 months, the first fruit arrived upon the spindly, but determined, stems.
So I celebrate. This recipe for Tomato & Peach Salad is the perfect picture of summer – fresh, light, and nutritious. While the tomatoes in this side dish are not ones I’ve nurtured myself (though the basil is), they are locally grown and sold at R&J Farm Market (a new find!) and the peaches are compliments of Stauffer’s Fruit Farm.
Tomatoes contain the virtuous lycopene, a carotenoid with powerful disease fighting properties; and while it is more potent in cooked tomatoes, it’s still sufficient in the fresh version. Keep in mind that carotenoids are fat-soluble so a bit of fat is needed to facilitate its absorption in the body. So, to get the most nutrition from tomatoes, it’s best to eat them with a healthy fat such as extra virgin olive oil.
Feeling a bit smug, I just planted a few radish seeds for a late-summer, early-fall treat (fingers crossed) and may even experiment with a few more vegetables. There’s something very fulfilling about eating what you grow, and it certainly brings a new appreciation for farmers; even if my humble food-growing beginnings launched with a seed starting kit, a few peat pots, and blind curiosity.
Tomato & Peach Salad
Adapted from Women’s Health Magazine recipe for Heirloom Tomato & Peach Salad
- 5 medium tomatoes
- 5 small peaches
- 3 oz semi-soft cheese (the recipe recommends mozzarella but I used Weissa Kase, a cheese similar to Colby)
- 1/3 cup chopped basil
- 4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground pepper
- Rise and chop tomatoes and peaches into 1/2-inch pieces. Place in large bowl.
- Toss with cheese, basil, olive oil, salt, and black pepper and enjoy!