A Message from the Farm
The site of the first tomato ripening on the vine is always exciting, and is a telltale sign that the summer harvest is on its way.
Tomatoes have an interesting history in North America. The first tomato plants were brought over by Thomas Jefferson, as an exotic oddity that he grew in his garden—mostly for decoration and not for eating. This trend of growing decorative tomatoes in gardens of the well-to-do, epicurean traveler continued for the next century, until modern agriculture, in the late 1800 thru 1900s, standardized this wild and savory fruit.
The once sometimes hairy, slightly bitter, and occasionally hollow wild tomatoes of South America and Europe turned into the meaty, perfectly round, and perfectly red tomatoes that we recognize in grocery stores today. What makes the tomato interesting is that it is one of the few fruits that becomes more nutritionally dense after cooking. Some tomato recipes recommend removing the skin and the seeds, but this is where almost 50% of the vitamin C is stored in the fruit. The more tomatoes are cooked, the more bio-available the lycopene becomes. Just 30 minutes of cooking will more than double the lycopene content, which is a win when fighting free radicals in the body.
This tomato pie recipe comes from my mother and is a reminder of summertime on our small family farm. This recipe calls for a lot of tomatoes. When you are stacking the tomato pie, you definitely want to pile on the tomatoes, because they will reduce by about 50% after cooking. Typically larger tomatoes are used for this recipe, but if all you have around are cherry and grape tomatoes, they can be delicious, too. I love to use multicolor tomatoes in this pie because it reminds me of having a bite of sunshine on a warm summer evening.