Village Farms Exclusives

Apr 2, 2016 | Blog Article

One of the best things about being the corporate chef of  Village Farms Greenhouse Grown is that I get to taste  an amazing array of tomatoes all year long that are exclusive to them alone.  It has been an amazing process for me to discover what each variety has to offer that’s unique, and then for me to explore which tomato I want to use based on specific characteristics that are important at the time for that particular dish.  Sometimes I choose based purely on flavor, other times I am going for visual appeal as well, and I always like to consider the different textures each variety offers. For me, all of these exclusive varieties have a different role to play…

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For example, when I want to roast a tomato and present it on the vine, and still have it pop and spill warm roasted tomato juice into a pool of pesto, then I know I want the Village Farms Cherry no. 9, because these are the absolute best tomatoes to roast and serve on the vine.  They don’t fall off after roasting because the calyx, the little green crown where the tomato fastens to the vine, is always very well rooted on these tomatoes. They’re also really thick walled and they hold a lot of juice – they end up like a little warm water balloon after roasting. 😉

I actually had a chance to measure the viscosity & juice levels, etc. These guys have a viscosity of 6.5, which means they actually end up being juicier than a Campari tomato.  Very  surprising for such a small fruit.

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The brix level is the technical measure for the sugar content. Anything near 10.0 is up in the “tastes amazing” range 😉 and so yes, this is a very sweet tomato.

With the combined thick wall and high ratio of juice, this is also a tomato that I like to use to add big texture in a salad. And once again, the tomato juice, raw this time, will end up blending with the cilantro vinaigrette in this particular salad, Cherry no. 9’s with edamame, tofu, black beans & corn.

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Now the Heavenly Villagio Marzano’s, don’t get me started…

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I purposely didn’t lead with them because I feel like I’m always raving about them.  But seriously, they’re that good, lol.  Every person I’ve ever met so far who’s tasted one has fallen in love them.  I’ve literally had thousands of people taste the Heavenly Villagio Marzano tomato in front of me over the last couple of years. They’re amazing to cook with and roast with because they’re super dense and meaty, yet they’re still sweet and crunchy when they’re raw. Getting into spring and trying to eat lighter I’m kind of meeting in the middle here using them in a lightly warmed spinach, grilled chicken and Heavenly Villagio Marzano salad.

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And then there’s the Cabernet Estate Reserve. WOW. What can I say, I’ve sampled these out to every produce expert imaginable and at every single show had at least one in five people tell me they were the best tomato they have ever tasted.  I’ve talked about how complex a flavor profile they have in detail. They start out really sweet then sort of transition into acidic as well.  This make them very refined and complex, akin to a fine wine.  They are at the same time crazy sweet (I’ve measured them at 12+ brix!!) and yet so savory …

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I’ve made them into a brilliant bacon jam in the past- cooking them down with dark sugar, caramelized onions and smoky bacon really ignites the savory side of these tomatoes and plays up their sweetness at the same time…

IMG_7782These tomatoes are amazing raw, but I’ve also used the Cabernet Estate Reserves to add some sweet/savory richness to one of my favorite pastas- a Sicilian dish with grilled eggplant, roasted tomatoes and salted ricotta.  These tomatoes took it to a whole new level…

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and last but not least, the True Rebel Mix – the super cool variety pack- picked by the growers based on what’s ready & when flavor is at its best throughout the season…

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this one is great to showcase on their own, raw and fresh,

IMG_8642or else, as in this case, a long slow confit olive oil bath just intensifies and enriches these little sweet tomatoes to make a fantastic rich base for a fatty grilled salmon…

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The absolute coolest part of my job is introducing people to these exclusive varieties of Village Farms tomatoes for the first time.  I think this is because I always know they’re going to be blown away by them because they have never tasted anything exactly like them before. And  because all of these tomatoes I’m talking about today are grown exclusively and only by Village Farms, I count myself pretty fortunate to be part of the family.  I hope this has inspired you in the kitchen and that I can encourage you to keep an eye out for us in your local grocery store so you will go ahead and try something you will undoubtedly get excited about…

thanks for reading and stay tuned because there is a lot more to come…

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