Farmers Market by day, tomato soup by night

June 12, 2009

For months I’ve turned green with envy at those of you who have brilliant farmers markets practically year-round. Ours have just begun recently in the Boston area and this year I have my own table at the local market. Cool, huh?

I’ll tell you the coolest part – all the different people. At the market in the middle of the day I see kids with their pregnant moms, older folks going for a stroll, recently graduated college seniors who haven’t started work yet, local business people…it’s really very nice. I give out recipes that use fresh produce and talk to people about health counseling. As the crowd gets bigger each week, I’m planning to give some free yoga classes too! But right now I think people are just starting to remember about going to the market because it’s early in the season.

Anyway, the other coolest part of the market is obviously the fresh produce! I love just sitting there all day next to it. The farmers were kind enough to donate some items for my table display, and then before I packed up to leave I bought a few bags of goodies to make for dinner.

I had an interesting conversation with one woman who was lamenting that none of the farmers were organic this year. We talked a little about local vs. organic but she seemed set on only buying organic. I later asked one of the farmers about it and they assured me that they used no chemicals or pesticides but simply were not certified organic because of the expense! USDA organic certification isn’t free, so lots of smaller farms don’t think it’s worth it. Lesson learned – talk to your local farmers and ask about their farming techniques. Next week if I see that woman I’m going to tell her to go ask some questions!

It’s been really cold up here the past week, so when I finally got my chance to hit the produce stalls, the fresh basil and tomatoes spoke to me and said, “Make sooooooouuuup” So I did. I had never made tomato soup before and I kind of just made it up as I went along. It came out really yummy! Try this recipe but use what you have on hand…I think it’d be difficult to go wrong.

Farmers Market Tomato Soup
3 tomatoes, halved
2 whole cloves garlic
4 Tbl. olive oil
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
1 handful fresh basil, finely chopped

Use 3 Tbl. olive oil to coat tomatoes and garlic. Place on sheet in oven at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. In the meantime, chop onions and celery. In a soup pot, heat remaining 1 Tbl. oil and saute onions with salt until soft and golden. Add celery and cook a few more minutes. Pour broth into pot and add cloves, parsley, s+p. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer.

When tomatoes are done and garlic is starting to turn golden, add to soup. Continue simmering another 10 minutes or so. Using an immersion blender to blend into soup as smooth or chunky as you like. Top with fresh basil.

Have you ever made tomato soup before? What’s your favorite recipe?

This post is part of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays.