Thanks to fellow foodies Annie and Nate, of the House of Annie blog, Michele and I are going to a special heirloom tomato tasting at the Wild Boar Farms, in the Suisun Valley of Northern California. I will be investigating whether the amazing things I've read and heard about their tomatoes are true.
Wild Boar Farms has the reputation for growing the finest tomatoes anywhere, which they credit to their ideal location, and describe as, "a perfect combination of the Central Valley heat mixed with some cooling at night from the bay breeze. The soil is outrageous, class 1 topsoil runs 90 feet or more in places, ten feet is considered excellent." It sounds like tomato heaven on earth.
This farm's tomatoes are prized by many of the Bay Area's top chefs, including the Queen of California Cuisine, Alice Waters. For those of you who haven't heard of Alice, she and her restaurant Chez Panisse, are credited with revolutionizing the ways chefs procure food and plan menus. It was all based around using locally produced, seasonal foods, purchased from farmers she knew by their first names.
This California cuisine movement wasn't started to change the world, it was created so she could feed her customers the freshest, best tasting food she could find. What was considered revolutionary back then - a chef dealing with small organic farmers directly - is now commonplace, and American cuisine is much better for it. Here is a short clip of Alice speaking with Charlie Rose. Enjoy!
Tomato basket photo (c) Flikr user heydrienne
Tomato sandwich photo (c) Flikr user Crystl