6.06.2008

Backyard beauties

Today I ate my first tomato of the season. I may have cheated the weather a bit, but not so much as you might imagine.

The red fruit is a Backyard Beauty, a brand vine-ripened in a hothouse in Madison, Maine. Beauties are only sold in New England, and only shipped within 24 hours of harvest. According to the company, they never make it very far.

Big name grocery stores in Maine and several other states carry the product year round; the tomato I ate came from a Hannaford Brothers store in Brunswick, Maine, where my mother does her weekly shop.

According to her, it takes less energy to heat a greenhouse in Maine than it does to cool one in Georgia. State of the art grow lamps, thermal blankets, heated gutters, and a rainwater re-claimation system keep the 24 acre greenhouse in check the environmentally friendly way. The Backyard Beauty website claims its greenhouse land is 20 times more productive per acre than a traditional New England farm; adding to its list of merits land conservation activist.

My BT (as I am waiting to pick up more lettuce tomorrow at the farmers' markets, the sandwich was minus the L) was delicious. With home baked toast, smoked bacon, and home whipped mayo, it was hard to beat. But to be honest, the tomato was nothing to rave about. It tasted, after its out of season journey from Maine to Cape Cod in the back of my parents Volvo, like every other tomato that has been grown commercially and shipped too far. For my next bite, I think I'll wait for a heat wave beauty from our own sandy ground.

Until then, make it a BL, minus the T.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Elspeth, I totally agree that the Backyard Beauties are nothing to rave bout taste-wise. Maybe they're ok in the summer -- but that's when I can get just-picked local tomatoes at the Farmers' Market, so I've never bought them then. I only buy them when I am really, REALLY desperate for a BLT, as I was last week! (The bacon came from Bisson's in Topsham.)

Also, just to set the record straight: I do shop at Hannaford, but I buy most of our produce (even in the winter) at Morning Glory Natural Foods. I agree w/ Michael Pollan that the average grocery store carries precious little "real" food. ~XO, Mama

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