Every cook craves them, a sexy tomato stash! Tomatoes can be the most wonderful ingredient on the planet or the most insipid, watery ball of red nonsense (aka most supermarket fodder). Jane and I know our way around a tomato after spending plenty of time in Spain where we are surrounded by tomato plantations, normally growing toms for the Northern Europe market.
We have struggled in the early part of this year to get our hands on good produce and feel chuffed to have found the brilliant people at The Tomato Stall to supply us with fresh tomatoes; the most incredible oak smoked tomatoes and even a seriously kickin’ ginger chilli chutney.
The Tomato Stall have a wide range of products from ketchup to juice and I’ve chatted with Kelly over there at length about all things TOMS and they are seriously passionate about what they do and the proof is in produce. They grow many heirloom varieties, all additive free and mostly organic and all bursting with flavour and oh so juicy.
We ate most of our bounty raw, like a box of chocolates, but way cooler. There are so many colours; yellow, greens, speckled, vivid reds and even some they call black (more very dark green really). The flavours of each variety were distinctly different; some sweeter, some more citrus; some meaty, some just exploded with juice. With tomatoes like this it does seem a shame to cook them or tamper with the flavour, they are best served simply with maybe some extra virgin olive oil and a little sea salt. That’s sounding like one of the worlds greatest salads!
We will be switching to local tomatoes when the crops come in (hopefully in a few weeks) but have no issues ordering tomatoes from the Isle of Wight when they are this wonderful (did we mention that the oak smoked tomatoes are one of the best things to pass our lips in a long time!) Great tomatoes are so difficult to come by on this island and these are grown in Britain and not giant plastic plantations in Spain or Italy.
If you are struggling to get your hands on good tomatoes in the UK, let Kelly know and they’ll send some to a farm shop near you.
We love to have the opportunity to spread the good word of passionate food producers who are doing things properly. If you are crazy about food and would like to send us a sample of your produce, we’ll taste them and let you know what we think. We may even stick them on the Beach House Kitchen.
PS – Tomato a fruit or vegetable? It seems obvious, but still a little room for debate. Tomatoes just don’t quite go in a fruit salad!