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Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Crazy FarmSource Summer

This summer played out as one of the most difficult seasons for growing vegetables. During my farm visits in the spring, hopes were high among our partners for a great growing season. However, soon after planting, heavy rains arrived to wreak havoc on farmers’ fields. Some farms lost as much as 20% of their crops. Around mid-June, rains tapered off and farmers were able to get back to business.

We started receiving zucchini and yellow squash around the last week of June and were anxiously awaiting our tomatoes and peppers, but the cool nights had some adverse effects on these items.

These vegetables need heat at night to ripen and we just didn't have it, which means that our farmers had fruit on the vine, but nothing was ripe. We started to see our first tomatoes in late July and our first yummy peppers in mid August. Despite these challenges, we still had a successful year and are looking forward to continuing to expand this local purchasing program. There’s nothing quite as delicious as fresh-picked, vine ripened produce, and this is a delicacy that we enjoy sharing with our guests – no matter what it takes!

Ripe yummy peppers fresh from the fields at Yarnick’s, one of our partner farms in Indiana, PA
If you have a green thumb of your own (as I like to think I do), you may have your own abundance of ripe tomatoes at the end of every growing season. One of my favorite ways to enjoy my annual bounty is Tomato Pie. My garden at home is bustling with yellow and red tomatoes and this recipe is a delicious way to use them up. Enjoy!

Until next time,


Tomato Pie Recipe

Tomato Pie
1 (9-inch) frozen pie shell, thawed (or you can make your own crust like I do - see recipe below)  
3 large tomatoes, about 1 1/2 pounds, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices 
Kosher salt, for sprinkling 
1/4 cup Dijon mustard 
1 cup coarsely grated Gruyere 
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves 
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Basil leaves 
1 garlic clove, minced 
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
Freshly ground black pepper

1, Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Line the shell with foil and fill with pie weights, dried beans, or rice. Bake in the lower third of the oven for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the weights and foil. Return to the oven and bake for 10 minutes more or until light golden. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.
3. Turn up the oven to 400 degrees F.
4. Sprinkle the tomatoes with salt and drain in a colander for 10 to 15 minutes. Spread the mustard over the bottom of the shell and sprinkle the cheese over it. Arrange the tomatoes (I dab the tomatoes with a paper towel) over the cheese in 1 overlapping layer. Bake until the pastry is golden brown and the tomatoes are very soft, 35 to 40 minutes.
5. In a small bowl, stir together the parsley, basil, garlic, olive oil, and pepper to taste to blend. Sprinkle the pie with this mixture while hot and spread out gently with the back of a spoon. Serve the pie hot or at room temperature.

Pie Crust (I also use 10” tart pans instead of pie pans)

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
12 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
4 to 6 tbsp ice cold water

1. Combine flour and salt in a food processor and pulse once or twice to blend.
2. Add the butter and process until blended; slowly add water until dough is formed.
3. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.  


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