Preserving September’s bounty

I planned to go to the Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning. But the day woke grey and rainy – so I really just wanted to stay in bed. However I didn’t want to miss out on all the great fruits and vegetables, herbs, garlic etc so I dragged myself there, all the while wondering if there was somewhere I could go throughout the week other than the supermarket  … and there is!

I was speaking with Cathy Bartolic, the Executive Director of Ontario Farm Fresh (the organization of farmers who sell their produce on farm) and she cited four reasons why you would go to an On Farm Market..

  •  meet the farmer and see how the produce is grown
  •  absolute freshness
  •  experiential – especially if you pick your own
  •  physical activities -think fresh air, corn mazes, straw bales, a place where kids can just run

She says to be sure to take a cooler.

And in response to my lament about Saturdays … Cathy says this time of year many On Farm Markets are open to the public 7 days a week.

But back to the peaches and garlic and tomatoes and fresh oregano that I bought on Saturday …

Inspired to preserve some of the bounty for the cold winter days ahead, I decided to make a tomato “jam”. I have only done canning ONCE in my life. So I can’t tell you how happy I was to find this simple recipe created by Lauren Classen – first place winner of the 2010 Feast of the Fields appetizer contest – which freezes beautifully (no canning required)

Ok – so here goes:

Roasted Tomato and Peach Jam

10 ripe tomatoes (about 4 lbs) cored if needed, halved horizontally (I used 18 roma tomatoes instead)

10 ripe peaches (about 2 lbs) unpeeled pitted, chopped

I medium sweet onion chopped

4 cloves of garlic, peeled, smashed

2 tsp sugar (I didn’t add that btw)

¼ cup olive oil

1 tsp sea salt

2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano leaves

* * *

Place tomatoes cut –side up, without overlapping, on one side of a very large, rimmed baking sheet or in large roasting pan.

Pile peaches and onions on other side. Stick garlic between tomatoes. Sprinkle sugar (if using) on just tomatoes. Drizzle oil and sprinkle salt and oregano over everything.

Roast in preheated 400F oven for 40 minutes; onions and peaches will start to brown on edges.

Smash tomatoes with spatula to release juices. Mix everything together. Bake, stirring every 15 minutes until tomatoes are dark, moisture has evaporated and mixture is consistency of thick jam – about 1 hour. Taste. Adjust salt or sugar.

Serve warm or cold. Refrigerate in sealed container up to 1 week for freeze for up to 6 months

If desired, serve a dollop on baguette slices topped with goats’ or sheep’s milk cheese.

Makes 4 cups!

If you live in Ontario – “get fresh” and visit farms near you:

http://ontariofarmfresh.com/

For times and places of local farmers’ markets:

http://www.farmersmarketsontario.com/

Enjoy the bounty!

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3 comments
  1. Cathy Bartolic said:

    Great post……thank you for the plug.

    Your pictures really make it so much more real and immediate!!

    What is you twitter handle? I want to follow you.

    All the best,

    Cathy Bartolic

    OFFMA Executive Director

    905-841-9278

    http://www.OntarioFarmFresh.com

    Follow us on Twitter.com/offma, Facebook.com/OntarioFarmFresh

    “If nothing ever changed, there would be no butterfiles.”

    • Hi Cathy – Thanks! …no twitter handle yet but soon very soon!

  2. I love the tartness of the tomatoes and the sweetness of the peaches in this jam. It looks so beautiful packaged in a small perserve jar and makes a lovely hostess gift.

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