Farm Fresh

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With a little bit more time on my hands than usual, I have been able to make it to the farmer’s market nearly every week since I have been home and was also lucky enough to spend the morning with my friends Alex and Zach on the farm they work on in Connecticut, Riverbank Farms.

At the farmer’s market in River Vale, though the selection is a bit small, the vendors are very friendly and engaging.  When we asked if it was possible to get a bushel of tomatoes for our canning adventures, they weren’t fazed at all and told us to give them a call the week we wanted the bushel and they would bring them along.  With our tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil (plus other fantastic purchases) we made homemade margherita pizza that might have been one of the most delicious pizzas I ever ate.  The freshness of the tomatoes makes a huge difference and makes me wish tomato season came more than once a year!  My heart sincerely goes out to all of the farmers whose summer and fall crop were damaged by Hurricane Irene; see how you can help here.  Through GrowNYC and Greenmarket, you can donate to help farmers restore their farms and/or choose to take the Locavore Challenge and eat locally for the month of September.. lucky you that I’m writing this on September 1st! (Technically for NY residents, but I’m a rule breaker.)

While I’ll always be a Jersey Fresh girl, I headed up to Connecticut last week to visit my friends Alex Gross and Zach Gross who have worked at Riverbank Farm for several years now.  Alex (visit her fab food blog here!) graduated from Fairfield in 2009 and is now one of the managers on the farm and Zach is starting his senior year at Fairfield and has just gotten back from a semester abroad in Nicaragua and a summer internship in Mexico.. talk about power siblings!  I joined them for a morning of tomato harvesting and had such a wonderful time learning the names of the different varieties and catching up with Alex and Zach.  Riverbank is located in northwestern Connecticut and between three greenhouses and over 12 acres, they grow wonderful organic produce and flowers to sell wholesale and at market.  I met some really wonderful people and got to spend some time chopping up tomatoes for sauce to be canned.. I looked like a hot mess after a few hours but was so glad to have been a part of the day.

The photos of the tomato sauce above was made with onion and tomatoes from Riverbank, basil from our own home garden and garlic from the farmer’s market.  A super simple summer sauce, lighter than most American tomato sauces.. this is definitely one to try!


  • 8 pounds tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In large saucepan, cook tomatoes and basil over medium-low heat until tomatoes are soft.
  2. Meanwhile, in medium skillet, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onions are translucent.
  3. Add onion mixture to tomato mixture and add salt and pepper. Let simmer on low heat for 2 hours or until thick.

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