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Tomatoes and Farmworkers

August 12, 2011

Market Update

  • Tomatoes- a wide variety of heirloom tomatoes ranging in size from small cherry to big brandywine tomatoes.
  • Okra- featured in our recipe of the week.
  • Beets
  • Cucumbers
  • Kale
  • Pak Choy
  • Root Veggie Packs (Carrots, Turnips, Rutabaga- a great variety for grilling or roasting)
  • String beans
  • Swiss Chard
  • Zucchini
  • Herbs: Basil, Parsley
  • Garden Flower Bouquets

Field Notes

It’s tomato season, and we’re eating tomato sandwiches everyday now- a big slice of ripe tomato between two pieces of whole wheat toast with mayo and ground pepper. It’s also time to put up food- canning pickles, freezing green beans, freezing pesto, canning tomato sauce and freezing cherry tomatoes. We love our wholesome food, and we want to be able to eat it year-round. When you buy veggies from us, consider buying extra and freezing or canning to enjoy them through the winter. If you’re growing your own, consider saving seeds from your best tomatoes and grow your own seedlings next year.

A book, Tomatoland, has been getting a lot of press lately. It tells the story of how supermarket tomatoes got to be so tasteless. The main point is that commercial growers focus only on how many tomatoes they can grow and their durability instead of focusing on quality. One review says, “… Tomatoland has a moral force that I won’t soon forget.  Estabrook makes it clear that the choice we make between a plastic-tasting supermarket tomato and a fragrant organic farmers’ market tomato is not merely a reflection of the fussiness of our palates.  It also says everything about our humanity, and our conception of America as a nation.” On that note, we take pride in feeding you the same great food that we eat ourselves.

Industrial tomato farms also often mistreat their workers. The Immokalee Workers have been struggling for a while to improve the wages and working conditions for farmworkers. Specifically, they are persuading large supermarket chains to pay 1 cent more per pound of tomatoes. That 1 cent per pound would go directly to workers. To consumers, 1 cent per pound is minuscule. To the workers, 1 cent per pound adds up to a wage increase that would help them meet the needs of their families. Many large supermarkets and fast food companies have already signed on to the agreement. Giant and Trader Joe’s are still refusing.

Don’t worry, Serious Farms is not mistreating any employees. We are so small that we don’t have employees. You can buy food from us and know that we’re not exploiting anyone. You’re also helping us buy our farm and to continue growing good food. Speaking of good food, our recipe for the week is Roasted Okra and Heirloom Tomatoes with Herbs. It’s a great introduction to okra, not to mention the flavor of roasted tomatoes is amazing. For variety, you can also substitute zucchini for the okra. Stop by our stand on Saturday from 9-1 at the Selinsgrove Farmer’s Market and you’ll get a copy of the recipe.

Head’s up- we’re having a big Harvest Festival at the Selinsgrove Market on September 17th. There will be an apple pie baking contest, a scavenger hunt for the kids and good music! Put it on your calendars now, and we’ll share more details soon.

As usual, please send questions to You can also connect with us through our Facebook page.

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