They may look ugly, but heirloom tomatoes taste great

Greenwood Lake.

| 08 Aug 2023 | 02:51

As the harvest season develops over the summer, visitors get to watch and enjoy a steady stream of produce characters emerge onto the vendors shelves at the Lakeside Farmers Market in Greenwood Lake, including some of the ugliest tomatoes you’ll ever view.

“Heirloom” tomatoes, according to Cornell University, “refers to a non-hybrid or open-pollinated (OP) variety that has been selected and passed down from one generation to the next. Good examples of these include “Brandywine,” “Cherokee Purple” and “Mortgage Lifter.” They tend to produce larger fruit. But there are also smaller heirlooms.

Fifteen varieties, including the heirloom cherry tomatoes

While heirloom varieties taste great (often at the top of the rich-in-flavor chart) but they crack easy and have poor disease resistance. Heirlooms are prized by home gardeners for superior flavor, uniqueness, and other characteristics that are not always present in modern varieties.

“The Lakeside Farmers Market is great,” said Joan Meredith, a shopper who continues to rely upon the advice given her by farmer Jeff Bialas of J&A Farm in Goshen, who provides guidance to visitors who are looking for both good value and easy recipes.

“We grow about 15 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, including the heirloom cherry tomatoes,” Bialas said. “Each has its own, unique nuanced flavor, depending upon the acidity and sweetness, but they are packed with flavor.”

On this day, visitors could also see some heirloom okra and shishito peppers that have begun to appear.

Jersey Girl cheese

Meanwhile, members of the Jersey Girl cheese farm facility in Rockaway, N.J., that will be debuting at the Lakeside Farmers Market next Saturday, with delicious farm made fresh mozzarella and ricotta, together with cave aged cheese wheels and other delicacies.

Farmer Jim Cuneo readily admits his business would be impossible without the loyal residents of the dairy farm he purchased here 24 years ago, as reported by the Daily Record. “When he decided to expand his operation, he named it after the 38 four-legged producers of his now-coveted cheese, namely Jersey cows.

Cuneo teamed up with cheesemaker Sal Pisani five years ago. Now, their growing business includes a store on the 68-acre Hillcrest Orchard and Dairy, where Cuneo has lived and worked since 1999.

Essential information

The Lakeside Farmers Market, located at Winstanley Park on Windermere Avenue in Greenwood Lake, is open every Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., featuring a growing array of vendors who specialize in farm-fresh produce, fresh-baked made from scratch savory and sweet pies and croissants, orchards, prepared foods, clothing, artisanal soaps and fragrances, distilled spirits, and other delights.

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