The Food Freak

Cooking, dining, and appreciating food through the written word. A young West-Coast food-lover has been displaced to numerous small towns and cities on the East Coast; in New Jersey, New England, and now the Hudson Valley. This is his story.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Heir to the Throne

In my fifth year on the East Coast, I find myself living in the Hudson Valley, where I am entering my second month of residency. To my amazement, it is one hell of a fresh food area during the summer. Farmer's markets are everywhere. But the loveliest discovery by far during this mild month of August, is God's gift of a savory fruit to man, the Heirloom Tomato. Beautiful to the eyes, the tongue, and the teeth, the Heirloom tomato is almost seedless, best eaten straight from the market table with a dash of good kosher salt, pepper, olive oil, and a leaf of fresh basil. I have had two weeks of heirloom experience mostly by way of caprese salads. My favorite so far for flavor is the Orange one, with red tint. Succulent and tender to the teeth, you can taste the earth and the sunnyness bursting from the juice. By way of texture, I also enjoy the green one; slightly al dente, a little lighter, but much brighter and frutier.

From what I read, the end of August is the end of the heirloom. I have not taken such news with a heavy heart, however. An item this good ought to require a year's wait, and deserves only a month's enjoyment. Anticipation seems to enhance the flavors and experiences of fresh foods more than one's favorite cooked dishes. Any more than a month's experience, and the heirloom would probably come dangerously close to joining the ranks of those awfully overused (and in my opinion overrated) pop-gourmet products like Balsamic vinegar.

The Heirloom deserves an ode, a toast, even a sonnet. It reminds us of the wonders of simplicity in the food world. It is also a gentle and sunny welcome to the Hudson Valley.

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