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FOR THE LOVE OF FOOD: Food inspections stall in government shutdown, snack drawers teach kids moderation, and the optimal diet for humans

by | Jan 11, 2019

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

This week food inspections stall in government shutdown, snack drawers teach kids moderation, and the optimal diet for humans.

Next week’s Mindful Meal Challenge will start again on Monday. Sign up now to join us!

Too busy to read them all? Try this awesome free speed reading app to read at 300+ wpm. So neat!

I also share links on Twitter @summertomato and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you.

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Farmers Market Update: Spring Treasures

by | Apr 17, 2011
Purple Spring Onions

Purple Spring Onions

I’m not sure I’ve done enough yet this year to illustrate what a truly special season spring can be. In the springtime, everything is new.

Breathtaking Tulips

Breathtaking Tulips

We get the first greens and fresh colors since the final harvest in autumn, but in the spring everything is sweeter and more delicate.

Bloomsdale Spinach

Bloomsdale Spinach

We don’t just have garlic, we have the sweeter and more subtle green garlic. Carrots, while large and husky in the winter are small and tender in the spring. These baby carrots taste nothing like the fake, flavorless “baby carrots” that come in big bags at the supermarket. These carrots are special.

Real Baby Carrots

Real Baby Carrots

Swiss and rainbow chard are better right now then they are at any other time of year. They’re so beautiful it’s hard to not bring extra home to put into a vase.

Rainbow Chard

Rainbow Chard

Artichokes and asparagus are also peaking right now. I was so overwhelmed by the sweet, earthy smell of artichokes when I walked up to the farm stand that I forgot to actually take a photo of the beautiful vegetables (there are plenty from previous weeks if you want a peek).

Though most people don’t think about eggs as a seasonal product, they are. Chickens don’t lay as many eggs when it’s cold. Plus, pastured grass is lush and filled with plump, tasty bugs once spring arrives. We got some pullet eggs this morning from Eatwell Farm. We had asked for the extra-large eggs, but apparently they sold out before the market even opened this morning. They’re that good.

Pasture Raised Eggs

Pasture Raised Eggs

For farmers market noobies, one of the most impressive things you can introduce them to is Meyer lemons. Lemons are sour and their peels are bitter, right? Not Meyers. While they aren’t exactly sweet, their acid is not harsh. And their peels are so thin and tender you can eat them raw. Meyer lemons are divine.

Perfect Meyer Lemons

Perfect Meyer Lemons

But one of the best aspects of spring is the hints of summer that sneak in from week to week. Now we have strawberries, and they’re actually getting good.

Endless Strawberries

Endless Strawberries

We also have some early tomatoes and ripe, creamy avocados, two of my absolute favorite summer ingredients.

Haas Avocados

Haas Avocados

As a last throwback to winter I plan to make a soup with one of these celery roots later this week.

Celery Root

Celery Root

Today’s purchases:

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Farmers Market Update: Best Of Spring

by | May 2, 2010

Spring Broccoli

Spring Broccoli

Everything I’ve ever wanted out of springtime I found at the farmers market this weekend. The sun was bright and warm and the produce was lush and colorful. I was in heaven.

Finally the strawberries are sweet and abundant. Pea shoots, shelling peas and sugar snap peas are everywhere. And…(wait for it)…the first pimentos de padrón have arrived!

Pimentos de Padron

Pimentos de Padron

Organic Strawberries

Organic Strawberries

Padróns are small Spanish peppers that are usually cooked briefly in hot olive oil and sprinkled with course sea salt. They aren’t spicy, except when they are. About 1 out of every 10 peppers is blistering hot, so be sure to have a crusty baguette nearby to soothe your mouth if you ever try them. The bread is also useful for sopping up the delicious oil that becomes flavored with the cooked pepper juices. I adore padróns.

The broccoli and cauliflower were particularly nice looking this week. I ended up getting two different kinds of broccoli, but after seeing this picture I regret not bringing home some cauliflower as well.

Gorgeous Cauliflower

Gorgeous Cauliflower

One thing I did get for the first time this week was some baby fava beans. I like the baby ones because they don’t require shelling, the pods are tender enough that you can eat them whole. I like to roast them with garlic, capers, anchovies, kalamata olives and tomatoes. Yum. Just look how tender and fuzzy these little guys are.

Baby Fava Beans

Baby Fava Beans

I’m also excited that we’re starting to see tomatoes and avocados at the market together. Mexican food FTW! The tomatoes are even starting to look pretty good.

Hass Avocado

Hass Avocado

Crazy Tomatoes

Crazy Tomatoes

I made the mistake last week of buying an organic avocado (it had slipped into the bin with conventional avocados and I hadn’t noticed) at my local market only to discover that it somehow tasted even better than regular avocados. I didn’t even think that was possible. Organic avocados are way more expensive, but I’m now forever ruined.

You also shouldn’t miss the fennel, lettuces, leeks, collards, chard and late season citrus.

Spring Citrus

Spring Citrus

Baby Fennel

Baby Fennel

Today’s purchases:

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Farmers Market Update: Two Seasons Collide

by | Mar 7, 2010
Tangelos

Tangelos

The transition from winter to spring is one of the most dramatic season changes of the entire year, with a virtual explosion in both the variety and amount of amazing produce from local farms. The next few weeks will be particularly special, since we can now get the best of winter and the delicacy of spring into the same meal.

Stop and think about that for a minute.

Crab season is ending and asparagus season has just begun. If you’ve never paired these two foods together, you are in for a serious treat. You can get Meyer lemons right now too, which are quite possibly the single most impressive farmers market find during the winter. I swear these lemons are like candy.

Thumbalina Carrots

Thumbalina Carrots

Haas Avocados

Haas Avocados

Citrus in general is a fantastic addition to the salads you can now make with spring greens and lettuces. While you’re at it, go ahead and sprinkle some arugula flowers on there and upgrade a dinner salad into something spectacular. The fresh almonds and walnuts available right now are another fantastic addition.

Fresh Almond Milk

Fresh Almond Milk

Arugula Flowers

Arugula Flowers

The tangelos pictured above are a late winter citrus fruit that has a much more deep and complex flavor than your standard orange. Kumquats just appeared today, which are delicious raw (whole) or cooked (try them with duck).

Organic Artichokes

Organic Artichokes

First Kumquats

First Kumquats

A few other things you should be looking out for this time of year are artichokes, carrots, beets, chard, fennel, leeks, celery root (celeriac) and fresh horseradish. I have also been finding flowering versions of more common vegetables, like kale.

Horseradish Root

Horseradish Root

Sorry to those of you who live in places where spring still hasn’t arrived. But you still have all this to look forward to!!

Celeriac

Celeriac

Kale Flowers

Kale Flowers

What are you finding this time of year?

Today’s purchases:

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