Heirloom Tomatoes – Summertime Traditions

“In some seasons, like fall and winter, the foods we eat are almost an antidote to the weather, but in the summer the foods are a reflection of the weather; the two exist in perfect harmony. Summer is the time for eating seafood, fruits and vegetables.”

Executive Chef Pino Luongo from
Simply Tuscan  

One of my favorite summer traditions is a family trip to the home of my friends Mike and Gail on the North Fork of Long Island. There a midst the cornfields and farmland, with a convenient beach a mere 100 feet away, the family can relax and I can visit the small local produce and food vendors. Always on the lookout for some great corn or great cheese – one local shop has 200 different kinds of cheese – I most look forward to indulging myself doing something I don’t get to do at any other time of year. I can pick out my own tomatoes.

Located in the small hamlet of Southold is KK’s “The Farm,” a family-owned and operated organic farm where plantings are grown entirely from seed. The farm offers fresh-picked produce and colorful flowers from the farm stand, but the real attraction for me is the Farm’s basement where over 16 varieties of heirloom tomatoes are stored by type and size.  After two hours perusing the offerings available, I made my selections and filled the car with four varieties Cherokee Purple, Aussie, Basinga and Black Krim to bring back to Morso.  These beautiful tomatoes are the highlight of our late summer menu specials and are featured in the Spaghetti al Pomodoro Crudo and, of course, the heirloom tomato salad.  

Whenever I return from my visits to the North Fork, I feel re-energized and renewed. Perhaps it is because when I am there and so close to nature, I am reminded of the of the farms and villages of my native Tuscany,  or perhaps it is just knowing that a place of such peace and tranquility is only two short hours away from New York City. I hope, when you taste the tomatoes that you enjoy them as much as I’ve enjoyed bringing them to you.