How to Grow Your Own Slow Food Tomatoes

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Nothing tastes better than fresh tomatoes ripened naturally by the sun and grown without chemicals. Tomatoes are some of the easiest fruits to grow in your backyard. They are versatile and good for the health, you can use them in several ways; in main meals, salads, appetizers and even beverages. Growing tomatoes is easy, you need to remember that they require lots of sunshine, adequate water and rich soils.

When planting slow food tomatoes, keep in mind that a sunny and sheltered location is ideal. Oregon has cold winters so it is best to plant only when the soil is warm enough for your plants to thrive. Test soil temperature in the early morning to ensure that it is at least in the 60s. Slow food seeds matter a lot when choosing the variety of tomatoes to plant. ‘Stupice’, ‘Cherokee Purple’ or ‘Black Cherry’ of the heirloom variety are highly prized cultivars that you can produce from seed. Tomatoes are big plants when they reach maturity so you should allow at least two feet space in between seeds. If planting in containers, put one seed only per pot to get healthy plants.

For valuable tips, read this article that is a detailed guide to planting tomatoes.

 

This piece was contributed by Jackie Edwards

Snail by Snail: The Perfect Loaf

Maurizio Leo describes himself as a self-taught pathological bread baker. He chronicles his recipes and knowledge on his award winning food blog: The Perfect Loaf.

If you’ve ever tried your hand at sourdough bread baking, you know that although the ingredients are simple, the process is involved and nuanced. I came upon The Perfect Loaf in a moment of baking desperation; confused by my starter but wanting the reward of long fermented bread. And Maurizio attentively answered my questions, offered encouragement and troubleshooting.

The comments below his recipes are packed with his careful replies creating a community led by a spirit of generosity that feels unique and special. A place offering encouragement and cheerleading for a slower approach to food.

Listen in as we talk about:

  • his Italian roots and favorite food story
  • the special scent and taste of the Ark of Taste White Sonora Wheat
  • how his engineering background informed his approach to baking
  • tips for beginning bakers

And be sure to visit his site as well as his Instagram feed to see a whole collection of beautiful bread.

PS: Snail by Snail is now on iTunes. You can search and subscribe to get updates on new episodes and listen to past episodes!

Snail by Snail: Chef Aaron Adams

Farm Spirit

This interview with Chef Aaron Adams was initiated by a fellow board member who said you need to interview Aaron Adams. I jotted his name down in Evernote (although to be honest, the note said Erin Adams Farm Spirit) and a couple days later I got a text with the contact info and we set a date for the interview. Then, I started to research…

I quickly learned that Chef Aaron is the man behind Farm Spirit which was named by Travel and Leisure as the Best Farm to Table Restaurant in Oregon. Snail by Snail was in the big leagues.

There are many accolades surrounding Farm Spirit and rightfully so. You’ll hear in the interview the conviction, drive and chutzpah that Chef Aaron brings to his restaurant. He is a man of big opinions and living them in the world, which in my mind, is a huge and noble deed. So, to see his wonderful work receive praise is no surprise.

What did surprise me though is that behind the hyperlocal, the vegan, and the modernism, is the most simple and core desire to welcome someone to the table. This is hospitality at its best. And something I think is often forgotten in a world of celebrity chefs, Chopped and Master Chef.

After the interview, Chef Aaron and I reflected on both having grown up in Latin households. How you’d never have someone come over without feeding them. You offer something to drink. Then you offer them food. There is bounty to share and be given. As I left that afternoon, it was that warm memory of generous hospitality and care that stayed with me and in my humble opinion the heart of what Chef Aaron and his team so graciously offer at the Farm Spirit table.

Listen in to hear:

  • his opinion and the problem with a Eurocentric view of food
  • why cheap food= exploitation
  • the key choices he made that flip the traditional restaurant model on its head
  • the guiding principle at Farm Spirit

 

ps: Snail by Snail will be on a short hiatus in September due to Terra Madre where I (Antonella), Jesse and a few other delegates will be soaking up the experience. Catch us again in October!

Snail by Snail: Stoneboat Farm

If the future of food is in the work of young farmers, Stoneboat Farm gives tremendous reason for hope and optimism. We are in good hands with farmers like Jesse and Aaron at the helm. They incorporate traditional practices like the use of draft horses while having a keen sense of the social and environmental impact sustainable farming has in the modern world.

 

Draft horses

We covered a lot of ground in our interview. Some highlights include:

    • Jesse’s analogy between farming and human health
    • Recommendations on how to use attractant planting in the home garden
    • His reminder that organic doesn’t always equal sustainable
    • The “political” topic of tilling
    • Exciting projects in collaboration with Adelante Mujeres

To learn more about Stoneboat Farms and to get information about their CSA, visit them at: www.stoneboatpdx.com.