I’ve been kind of procrastinating this post, so let me explain why it’s tardy. Weeks ago, I went to The Royal Winter Fair and found a dangerous food there. The Fair is pretty cool – basically small town Canada comes to the T.dot with their animals and there are contests and races and butter sculptures…
…and it’s a rural good time in the city. It’s called “The Royal” Winter Fair because King George the 5th called it that in 1920. When I was little I went with my aunt and I was kind of shy, but I quietly said to her, “Some day I might want to milk a cow.” My aunt was and is very unshy, so she went and grabbed a farmer there and said, “THIS GIRL WANTS TO MILK A COW.” I was mortified, of course. The cow had its milking machine on, so the farmer let me pat its udder, but I still haven’t done the legit milkmaid thing with the teats, even though my husband’s family runs a dairy farm in Northern Ireland with almost 100 cows that I’ve visited at least twice. Maybe next time I should bring my aunt to speak up for me. Milking bucket lists.
Anyway. Neither butter nor milk were my dangerous foods from the fair. While I was wandering around I saw this, and said to the guy manning the produce booth, “Hey, I need to have that.”
We don’t really eat green tomatoes around here, so I thought that would be the perfect dangerous food – such a clever idea making them into a kit. “The guy,” turned out to be Peter Quiring, the CEO of Nature Fresh Farms, a 67 acre greenhouse complex where they grow 7 million kilos of peppers and tomatoes and probably other fruit/veg every year, recycling their waste water and doing other amazing cool stuff. Here’s an article about them in The Canadian Business Journal. Feels like I met a famous person. Shouldn’t farmers be famous? Most important job, no? So I asked him if I could buy a box, and he said they weren’t really selling them, but when I said it was for my dangerous food blog, he was happy to give them and also threw in these
A pretty little hot pepper assortment that were a little too pretty – I told my little guy not to touch them, but for some reason he couldn’t resist and took a chomp out of one which resulted in an hour long crying fit. Was it mean of me to photograph his frustrated agony?
That’s what you get when you don’t listen to mama. A scalding hot tongue.
But back to the fried green tomatoes. I procrastinated blogging about them because I expected to Google and find “Southern delicacy, blah blah,” and that didn’t seem like a very interesting post to me. But it turns out that there’s big debate about whether eating green tomatoes is even Southern. The movie that we all remember (but that I never saw) resulted in bushels still being fried up by the Irondale/Whistlestop Cafe, but the “delicacy” may have originated elsewhere to make use of unripe tomatoes that were useless after vines died. The passion about their history is kind of interesting, and Robert F. Moss has already blogged about it better than I could ever do. Don’t skip the comments.
I just cared that they were tasty. This won’t be an overly complex recipe, because all I did with the kit was “add water.” But generally fried green tomatoes are made with a cornmeal batter and fried only half-submerged in oil. Google for your fav recipe if you’d like to give it a try and can’t find a Nature Fresh kit. The results taste kind of crisp and tart, almost vinegary. I served them with pickled red onions that I learned about in The Purple Fig Mag, which I highly recommend keeping in your fridge to sprinkle on anything that needs a kick.
And while at first I thought I didn’t have much to say about tomatoes, now I just can’t stop blabbing. Nature Fresh Farms is in Leamington, the tomato capital of North America, where Heinz gets much of its tomato mojo. They have a tomato festival every year, that I actually attended once. Gotta love agricultural festivals. Let’s hope not all ketchup is made like this by the tomato princesses.
And did you know that ketchup is the only condiment that the human palate agrees on? There are hundreds of mustards, tomato sauces, hot sauces. But with Heinz, there are no other kinds. Here is a very interesting food marketing article about ketchup for you.
And because I just can’t stop talking today, I’ll leave you with Uma Thurman’s joke from Pulp Fiction:
Three tomatoes are walkin’ down the street.
Papa Tomato, Mama Tomato and Baby Tomato.
Baby Tomato starts lagging behind, and Papa Tomato gets really angry.
Goes back and squishes him and says….
UPDATE: Aw MAN! When I told my husband about this post (he only reads my stuff if he is figured prominently or something) he asked if I had heard that Heinz was closing its Leamington plant. ROTTEN tomatoes all around. Here is an article describing that decision and touching on its impact.