Yesterday I was picking up my daughter from the train. On the way back we go by Wilson's Farms. Now Wilson's Farm always makes me almost have accidents as I go by. They keep their fields neat and orderly, and I'm always craning my neck as I go by. My mind goes something like this, "Are those beans? Oooo they mulch their tomatoes with black plastic like me, but put clover in the walkways. I need to do that. Hmm what are those transplants that are getting planting in the field today? " And yes I do this while trying to drive. I try not to. Really I do.
Inside the store, it is not just a typical farmer's stand. It is produce market along with meats, milk, cheese and a bakery. They are open all year round and ship things in during the winter. But they mark the produce that they grow so you know what is really fresh.
I couldn't help but stop. This is the time of year they sell their tomatoes fresh from the fields in gallon boxes. The paste tomatoes were $5.99 a box. So I bought one. The regular tomatoes had a special of 2 for $10. So I got two. These tomatoes are not just any tomatoes. They are picked ripe. In fact sometimes they are a bit over ripe. But I was going to make them into sauce so they are perfect.
I had also heard that they sold Baer's Best Beans. Baer's is a farm in Beverly, just north of me. As far as I can tell they don't sell on their farm, but go to farmer's markets and Wilson's Farm. They sell all sorts of dried beans. The selection at Wilson's was small and mostly just the typical beans, but they did have Jacob's Cattle beans. I used to grow these years ago and can't wait to make chili from them or maybe baked beans.
Today I had to process my tomatoes. One of the boxes of regular tomatoes I roasted in the oven. I wanted to remove most of the water easily. I'd never done it before, but so many people say they love it so I tried. Everyone's recipe is different. Some do it at 200F for a long time; some at 400F for a short time; and other of course pick any temperature in between. I choose 275F. Don't ask me why. I have no clue. After several hours and they were starting to get brown, I declared them done. Then I used my Victorio Strainer to process them along with the rest of the paste tomatoes and a few more of the other box of regular tomatoes. The rest we have already eaten fresh or will eat in the next couple of days.
The Victorio Strainer is fabulous if you have a lot of tomatoes to process. Just roughly chop them up and pop them in the top. Turn the handle and the pulp comes out the side and the skin and seeds out the front. I usually send the seed/skin part through a few times to make sure the pulp is all out. The work is after you finish processing those pounds of tomatoes. Most of the cleaning is easy, but the mesh screen takes a lot of work to get all the little pulp bits out. If I only had a few tomaotes, I would have done the seeding and peeling by hand.
For the rest of the day the tomato sauce will simmer in my crock pot thickening. Then tonight I'll cool it down and freeze it. This is plain tomato sauce. I thought about seasoning it, but I decided I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it. It might be spagetti sauce later or chili or soup or all three. There is certainly enough of it for all three and more.