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Tomatoes at St. Helena Farmers' Market

Colorful tomatoes are in season and are now available at the St. Helena Farmers’ Market, which is open from 7:30 a.m. until noon at Crane Park. These tomatoes are from Big Ranch Farms.

From Brandywines to Green Zebras, colorful tomatoes are everywhere at the St. Helena Farmers’ Market.

Luckily, tomatoes are extremely versatile and partner well with so many other ingredients. Of course tomato slices are wonderful by themselves with just a pinch of salt or added to almost any sandwich from sliced chicken to tuna salad. Combine tomato slices with cheese to create such classics as caprese salad with mozzarella and basil, grilled cheddar sandwiches or savory baked casseroles with zucchinis, onions and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Tomatoes are perfect in cold soups like gazpacho where they are combined with cucumber, bell pepper, green onion, jalapeno and garlic, and hot soups with or without cream. One of my favorite chilled salads combines tomatoes with several fruits at their peak ripeness right now: watermelon, cantaloupe and hot peppers.

This refreshing salad is easy to make. Whisk the juice and zest of one lemon together with one minced chili pepper and a pinch of salt. Toss in about 3 cups of diced seedless watermelon, 3 cups diced cantaloupe and 2 large or 3 medium diced heirloom tomatoes to make about 6 servings. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes. If you want to serve as a light entrée, add 2 cups of diced ham or turkey breast.

This Friday, Aug. 24, Chef de Cuisine John Hong from the acclaimed Restaurant at Meadowood will present a Chef’s Demo at 10:30. Kids will enjoy hands-on activities in the Market Classroom from 9 to 10. More than 50 vendors will dazzle you with their arrays of fresh organic produce, delicious prepared foods and handmade artistic wares.

Join us every Friday morning from 7:30 until noon in shady Crane Park until the end of October for St. Helena’s favorite Friday morning tradition. Keep up to date on all the latest news and programs at sthelenafarmersmkt.org. And don’t forget that throughout the month of August the St. Helena Farmers’ Market will be the beneficiary of Farmstead Restaurant’s Corkage for Community program.

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Editor’s Note: Stacey Bressler is a local vintner, a member of the St. Helena Farmers’ Market Board of Directors and past Citizen of the Year.

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