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The Beauty of an Ugly Tomato

Julie Stanley

At last night's program, Julie Stanley held up a massive and misshapen tomato declaring that it tastes better than the uniform and pretty variety that’s been bred for looks and long shelf life. Julie Stanley knows her veggies. As owner and executive chef of Food Dance Café (now in its 15th year), she’s been a proponent of farmers and local foods for decades. You won't catch her serving winter tomatoes. "Why would you want your food to taste bad?" she said.

Julie Stanley

Julie shared tips for spotting the good stuff at a farmers market, and caring for those precious goods when we get home. “Ask questions,” she urged. Farmers will readily talk about their produce. Beware of vivid yellow squash (tough skin) and oversized zucchini (bitter). Corn, she says, should be firm, cold and even slightly wet – clues that the farmer kept it chilled overnight. If the blueberries don’t have a frosty cast, they’ve been handled too much. And don’t even think about keeping those fragile raspberries for more than a day.

Photos: Marti Fritz

The Beauty of an Ugly Tomato

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Julie Stanley

At last night's program, Julie Stanley held up a massive and misshapen tomato declaring that it tastes better than the uniform and pretty variety that’s been bred for looks and long shelf life. Julie Stanley knows her veggies. As owner and executive chef of Food Dance Café (now in its 15th year), she’s been a proponent of farmers and local foods for decades. You won't catch her serving winter tomatoes. "Why would you want your food to taste bad?" she said.

Julie Stanley

Julie shared tips for spotting the good stuff at a farmers market, and caring for those precious goods when we get home. “Ask questions,” she urged. Farmers will readily talk about their produce. Beware of vivid yellow squash (tough skin) and oversized zucchini (bitter). Corn, she says, should be firm, cold and even slightly wet – clues that the farmer kept it chilled overnight. If the blueberries don’t have a frosty cast, they’ve been handled too much. And don’t even think about keeping those fragile raspberries for more than a day.

Photos: Marti Fritz

Posted by Lisa Williams at 08/14/2008 09:46:08 AM