Monday, October 08, 2007
In my conversion to full-on Northern California foodie, I went to a very unique party yesterday that nicely capped off the summer.
Since the spring we've been getting a weekly farm box from a CSA, but our farm has recently run into hard times! The highly destructive mediterranean fruit fly was spotted in the area (not on the farm), and everything within a four mile radius, including our farm, has been quarantined. Nothing that the wily fly likes to live in can be transported off of the farm, including the luscious late season tomatoes and pluots. The poor farm is left with thousands of pounds of healthy and juicy tomatoes of all breeds and colors that will rot on the vine.
In an attempt to turn lemons into lemonade, the farm invited its members to a sauce party, where they picked over 2,000 pounds of tomatoes and invited us to turn them into marinara to take home for free! (Once the tomatoes have been heated to a boiling point for 30 minutes, they're okay to take out of the quarantine zone.) The scene was not to believed: hundreds of people stood outside in the shade of the poplars among barrels of green, orange, yellow and red tomatoes of all sizes and shapes, chopping away, trading recipes, and throwing the fruit into enormous pots, along with the farm's basil, rosemary, thyme, onions, eggplants, bell peppers, hot peppers, and lavendar salt. Taking care to avoid stepping on the wandering chickens, we then carried our overflowing pots to just-assembled camp stoves to let them stew. The setups ranged from the primitive (ours, with a rickety one-burner camp stove), to people who had brought tomato grinders and full ranges! The fun was rounded out with a bloody mary bar and all the tomatoes you could eat.
Needless to say, we had pasta for dinner.