Wild Boar Farms…What it takes to Great Tomatoes to Market

IMG_0818cropadjI thought I was going to the Wild Boar Tomato Event this weekend just to taste some cool tomatoes and actually see a blue tomato for the first time. But, I learned more, so much more.

When I go to the farmers market I admit I don’t put much thought into what it takes to grow what I buy there. I mean I should…I’m a gardener…I know about weather and bugs and other discouraging garden problems…but I just didn’t think about it.  But I will now. I will be so much more appreciative of what goes into what I buy!

At the Wild Boar event, Brad Gates, the owner, explained exactly how hard it is to bring a flavorful, beautiful crop to market.  There’s the weather: too hot, too cool, too dry, too wet….and all hard to control.  Then there are the bugs, the diseases, the intensive labor and the exorbitant cost of being organic and advertising and renting land and the back breaking work of it all. It’s amazing to me that anyone goes through all that to bring us fresh, organic, healthy, and often beautiful food. And, on top of all that Brad is constantly working on hybridizing new varieties that taste better, look better and grow better.

The taste part is amazing. I went into the tasting assuming a tomato is a tomato. Maybe one is a little sweeter, one a little more acid, but generally all the same.  Wrong!  We tasted these, among others, and not one was like the other! Some of my favorites:IMG_0822adj IMG_0823adj IMG_0836adj IMG_0837adj

This year was a rough one for Wild Boar because wet weather brought blight to the garden and nearly decimated his crop.  It was sad to see the plants but Brad turned it into an amazing lecture on tomato culture. In the future he will be focusing on raising plants to sell and seeds to harvest and sell. It sounds like an excellent idea since bringing the actual fruit to market, which he has done so successfully for years, can be a very trying experience! I can’t wait till this beauty, a trial variety, is available in seed or plant form:IMG_0832adj

Sadly, this was the last tomato event Brad will be presenting. Not only will the lecture and tasting be missed, but the food! The lunch was catered by Fume Bistro & Bar in Napa and oh it was delicious. Chef Terry does this thing with toasted cheese on top of tomatoes that is amazing….seriously, I wanted to pick each little crumb off my plate! My husband doesn’t know it yet but he’s taking me there for our anniversary.

Maria Milagros Castro was also there teaching us all about olive oil.  While I was aware that store bought olive oil is usually made with canola and other oils added in, many of the people there were clearly shocked when she told us olive oil is not all olive oil!  She had some olive oil there that she made and we learned to warm it in a cup in our hands and sniff and taste the many flavors that are there in the oil. Olive oil and tomatoes….what could be better!

So, the next time you mosey on over to your local farmers market, thank the people that put such back breaking, risky, work into bringing that gorgeous, healthy food right to you from the farm!

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