THE tomato has had a rich and interesting history and is now available, fresh and delicious, at your next Worcestershire farmers’ market.
A member of the nightshade family, a beautiful little berry was once known by the French as a ‘wolfpeach’ – because it looked like a little peach and was thought to be as dangerous as a wolf.
Yes, the tomato has had a rich and interesting history and is now available, fresh and delicious, at your next Worcestershire farmers’ market.
Grower Robert Hale, who shares a stall with farmers’ market regular Styan Family Produce, is well-known in the area for the variety and quality of his tomatoes.
Mr Hale said: “Why do our tomatoes taste so good? Well, we are very careful with our choice of variety. And, because they are harvested red, they develop a full flavour on the plant – that is the most important thing.
“Our tomatoes are grown hydroponically – that means they are not grown in soil, but in water with a solution of nutrients. They have more flavour and the skins are not so tough as soil-grown ones. They grab the nutrients as they need them.”
Mr Hale said each plant is supported by a long string and they grow to about 30ft. They are planted under glass, in January, in his Longdon Hill Nurseries at Evesham and produce tomatoes until November.
Mr Hale supplies a wide-range of tomatoes for the farmers’ market stall, including classic, on-the-vine, cocktail, cherry, cherry plum, yellow cherry, golden cherry, two kinds of beef, plum, teardrop and long– which his wife Jane says are great for cooking.
Her favourite sauce, however, uses cherry plum tomatoes.
Mrs Hale said: “Take cherry plum tomatoes, fry them whole with a tablespoon of honey and a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar until they are just starting to split. Liquidise them, add your favourite herbs then continue to cook them in a saucepan for about 20 minutes on a low heat.
This is fabulous with anything that requires a tomato sauce.”
Today’s farmers’ market is in High Street, Bromsgrove, from 9am until 5pm. Next weekend’s markets are in Abbey Road, Malvern, on Saturday, July 17, from 9am until 2pm, and on Sunday, July 18, in Angel Place, Worcester, from 9am until 3pm.
Parking is only £1 all day at the CrownGate multi-storey car park, Worcester, on Sundays.