U-Pick Tomato Day at Mariquita Farm

Yesterday I drove from San Francisco to Hollister for the last Tomato U-Pick of the season at Mariquita Farm. It’s run by a couple who decided they’d rather sell direct from the fields than pay rent at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.

San Marzano tomatoes on the vine.

San Marzano tomatoes on the vine.

If there is anything better than standing in the autumn sun and plucking a warm ripe tomato off the vine and popping it in your mouth, I would like to know about it. I had planned to pick 10 pounds of San Marzanos for sauce and 5 pounds of Early Girls mixed with a few heirlooms. But my emotions got the best of me and I ended up with 25 pounds of Marzanos and 30 plus pounds of everything else.

My 25 lbs of San Marzanos.

My 25 lbs of San Marzanos.

The tomatoes, other than the Marzanos, were so ripe that many of them got squished and overripe on the long drive back (punctuated with a stop for Bun Pho Hue in San Jose) and they ended up in the sauce. I made a classic red sauce, which I wanted for comparison to the “red sauce places” I’m encountering in my new home in Saratoga. I adapted a recipe from Marcella Hazan which you’ll find in the next post.

The result was fabulous, rich and tomato-y. Out of curiosity, I’d initially cooked the other squished tomatoes separately. Heirlooms are pretty, Early Girls are sweet, but San Marzanos have the robust flavor profile this sauce demands.

Pizzas and green zebras for dinner.

Pizzas and green zebras for dinner.

Dinner was an assortment of pizzas made with the red sauce and with individual tomato slices, accompanied by sliced green zebras (they were getting ripe faster than anything else) in a vinaigrette with garlic and basil. All in all, a pretty good day—assuming you like tomatoes, of course.

This post originally appeared on my marketing blog, Otis Regrets… or Not. If you want to read about marketing instead of eating, click here.

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