Savoring the Seasons — How will you use your tomatoes?

  • A beautiful bounty of local tomatoes. Photo courtesy Pat Arnone of Bernardston

For The Recorder
Published: 8/30/2016 3:10:54 PM

I don’t know what officially counts as “peak of summer vegetable harvest,” but it must be right around now. Local farm stands, farmers markets, grocery stores and gardens are awash in great vegetables! Tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, greens, beets, potatoes, radishes, cabbage, carrots, garlic, onions, bok choy, eggplant, celery, cauliflower, corn, cucumbers, broccoli, peppers, turnips and more. Wow!

What are your favorite end-of-August vegetables? How are you enjoying them?

I love tomatoes in any form, and this simple baked tomatoes recipe is a perfect melding of tomato and cheese flavors. Using Chase Hill Farm’s Italian Grace parmesan-like cheese makes it a totally local delight.

How are you preserving the harvest? My friends are fermenting kim chi, canning tomatoes, making pickles freezing green beans and corn, and more. I’d love to hear any tips and recipes you have for preserving food. Here are two recipes for freezing tomatoes to enjoy when the snow flies this coming winter.

Speaking of harvest, act quickly to get tickets to the Shelburne Harvest Dinner happening on Sept. 17. I’ll be out of town and am sad I’ll miss it! I really enjoyed the Shelburne Harvest Dinner two years ago.

What kind of meal could Conway and other Franklin County towns serve with food grown and produced in their towns? What’s being harvested in your town? Send me recipes and menus for such a meal, including names of farms and food producers.

For years, I’ve heard, “Local food is great, but I can’t afford it.” I wish I remembered everyone who said that to me so I could encourage them to attend upcoming free local food clinics in Greenfield on the first Wednesdays of September and October. The clinics are a collaborative effort of the Franklin Community Co-op/Green Fields Market, Just Roots/Greenfield Community Farm and the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. Sample tasty, easy-to-prepare local food dishes, get recipes and learn about ways to enjoy locally grown food on a budget.

This week we’re eating …

Baked Parmesan Tomatoes


4 tomatoes, halved horizontally

1/4 C. freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or Chase Hill Farm’s Italian Grace cheese)

1 tsp. chopped fresh oregano

1/4 tsp. salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste

4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place tomatoes cut side up on a baking sheet. Top with Parmesan, oregano, salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil. Bake until the tomatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Try sandwiching them between slices of your favorite whole-wheat country bread. Servings: four

This Week
We’re Eating …

Roasted Tomatoes

By Deb Donaldson of Conway

Slice tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Slow roast in 200-degree convection for two to four hours depending on thickness of slices. They keep in the refrigerator for a several weeks or can be frozen.

This Week We’re Eating …

Slow-Roasted Plum Tomatoes

By Pat Lively of Seattle (adapted from

1 1/2 lbs. large plum tomatoes (about six) — use other tomatoes, if you like

2-3 T. olive oil

pinch of dried thyme

1 tsp. garlic powder


Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Halve tomatoes and place them, cut sides up, in Pyrex baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with generous pinch of thyme; scatter garlic powder. Sprinkle with salt. Roast for 1 hours. Baste occasionally. Remove from oven and baste again. Let cool. Bag and freeze.

Option: Could use 2 T. balsamic vinegar. After one hour, drizzle with vinegar and then roast 30 minutes, let cool and present for a side dish for meal.

Pat’s Note: I added a pinch of sugar sprinkled over tomatoes before they went into the oven. I roasted at 290 degrees instead of 275 degrees. Good recipe. I would make this again, for sure.

Local food advocate and community organizers Mary McClintock lives in Conway and works as a freelance writer for Greenfield Community College, brand promoter for Goshen-based local food company Appalachian Naturals and writer-editor for More Than Sound. Send column suggestions and recipes to:


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