07/30/2012 09:06AM ● Published by Style
WHAT’S IN SEASON NOW: Tomatoes!
The hot, dry climate of Placer County produces some of the finest tomato varieties throughout the summer months. The tomato, which originated in South America and spread around the world following the Spanish colonization of the Americas, is available in more than 7,500 varieties. Placer County growers are known for 12 to 16 kinds, including Juliet, Beefsteak, Oxheart, Cherry, Brandywine, Fourth of July, Early Girl and Roma.
DID YOU KNOW?
Even though tomatoes are usually displayed in the vegetable section of local farmers’ markets or grocery stores, this versatile, diverse food is actually considered a fruit. Tomatoes are delicious raw, in sauces and even drinks. From a nutritional standpoint, the tomato is believed by many to benefit the heart, among other organs, because it contains lycopene, one of the most powerful natural antioxidants.
To buy the freshest tomatoes the region has to offer, visit a Foothill Farmers’ Market or buy directly from these family farms: in Auburn, head to Amber Oaks Raspberries or Machado Orchards; in Lincoln, check out Beauty Ranch or Foothill Produce & Flower Farm; in Penryn, Pilz Produce at Hillcrest or Willow Creek Ranch; and in Granite Bay, Otow Orchard.
SELECTION AND STORAGE:
Tomatoes not yet ripe are optimally stored at room temperature, uncovered and out of direct sunlight. In this environment, they’re expected to have a shelf life of three to four days. A ripe tomato should be consumed within one to two days for best flavor and can be refrigerated; however, this type of storage can affect the fruit’s taste.