Tomato Fest and a Visit to our CSA Farm!

A few weekends ago Graham and I escaped the weird wintry cold of the Berkeley summer and went to check out the farm where our CSA box comes from.   For several months we had been getting notices in our vegetable box about Saturday farm tours and decided the time was right to go and see where our food actually comes from.

So we drove a little over an hour north of here to our farm, which sits in a valley surrounded by beautiful rolling hills dotted with majestic oak trees.  At the farm we enjoyed a picnic lunch while listening to a local band.  We checked out some fig trees and said hello to a few farm animals before stepping on to the tram for the official tour.   The tram that they had rigged up to a tractor took us to various parts of the farm—through some fields, past where they pack the CSA boxes, and finally to the huge tomato patch.

Apparently not everyone who comes to the farm gets to go to the tomato patch. Most are taken to another part of the farm where they can pick some greens and maybe an eggplant or two.  But as it turns out the other part of the farm had been cleaned out by the last CSA delivery, so they took us to pick cherry tomatoes in the usually off-limits tomato patch.

According to our tour guide the patch is prime real estate for snakes, so it is not the best area for visitors.   However, in order to give us the experience of picking something on the farm, they had been checking and clearing the area of snakes during the days before our visit.  Feeling a little bit reassured, we carefully ventured into the patch and picked some gorgeous and oh so tasty cherry tomatoes.

With two baskets of cherry tomatoes from the farm and another two baskets that had been delivered the day before in our CSA box, we were in tomato heaven!   One of the first things I thought to make with our bounty was a tomato, basil, and mozzarella salad—so simple, but yet so tasty.  With another basket, I made a tomato sauce for pasta, and the rest went into a sauce for some eggplant croquettes that I’ll share the recipe for next week.  On Friday, our CSA delivered another basket of tomatoes, so lucky for us the summer tomato fest will continue…

Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Salad

1 basket of cherry tomatoes, cut in half

10-15 fresh basil leaves, sliced into strips

8oz fresh mozzarella cheese, cut in bite-sized pieces

olive oil

salt and pepper

In a large bowl, mix together the tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella.  Drizzle with a few tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Tasty Easy Healthy Green Recipe Ratings:

Recipe Report Card Notes About Recipe Ratings

Tasty Rating


Four Chefs (Delicious!)

The key to this super simple and delicious recipe is fresh ingredients. Of course it doesn’t hurt to have tomatoes picked from the vine the same day you make your salad!

Easy Rating


Five Easy Chairs (Just Press Cook!)

A little bit of chopping and mixing and your done!

Healthy Rating


Three Apples (Average Nutritional Quality)

Although I could probably eat this salad every day, it is probably not a good idea. Mozzarella is lower in fat than other cheeses, but you end up eating a good amount of it in this salad.

Green Rating


Four Leaves (Mother Earth Approved)

The tomatoes and basil were both from the farm and the mozzarella and olive oil were organic.

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