When tomatoes are in season, it can be hard to eat them fast enough. This simple technique will improve their shelf life, and concentrate the best of their flavor.
Tomatoes. Olive oil. Salt.
Cut larger tomatoes into halves or quarters and place cut side up on a baking dish. Sprinkle lightly with salt. I use kosher salt because I like the large, airy flakes.
Place them in the oven at 200°F and roast for 1-8 hours, depending on the size of the tomato. Cherry tomatoes only need an hour or two; big tomatoes can roast for a whole 8 hours. For those large tomatoes, you can even put them in the oven before you go to sleep, and turn off the oven when you wake up and go to work.
The tomatoes shrivel to a gooey concentrate. Drizzle with olive oil and store in the refrigerator in a container for up to two weeks. Serve on bread, in salads and stews, or by just themselves. Add fresh basil leaves for a great flavor combination.
It's great to see kids interested in gardening and knowing they will take what they've learned about gardening in their formative years and apply them throughout their lives. The program Food to Grow On developed by Ms. Yakabe and Ms. Edwards from the Vallejo Charter School allow the kids to learn about soil, seed, plant growth, harvest, food production, and everything in between.
At the garden, even the teachers got to learn something about tomatoes, which they in turn will teach their students and others. Here's a post from Organic Gardening Magazine on tomatoes: bit.ly/OGTomatoTips
So many things happening in the month of May and it's only mid May. First, Vilma Aquino conducted a class on water-wise gardening at the Joseph Room in Vallejo where over 60 attendees showed up to learn about gardening during this time of California drought.
On May 10th, Bay-Friendly Landscape Coalition held a talk at the VPG on 'Lose Your Lawn' where Lori Caldwell and Sarah Sutton taught attendees how to kiss their lawn goodbye and embrace a Bay Friendly landscape. Check out www.bayfriendly.org
After the talk, attendees had a fabulous lunch courtesy of Chipotle and Sandra's smoothies using fresh ingredients from the garden like kale, beets, carrots, and celery. It was invigorating!
And afterwards, volunteers from AmeriCorps worked in the garden. What is AmeriCorps you ask? AmeriCorps is a network of local, state, and national service programs that connects over 70,000 Americans each year in intensive service to meet community needs in education, the environment, public safety, health, and homeland security.
Lastly, Sandra Saragoza (dedicated VPG volunteer with three kids) gets a chair massage in the garden from Kim Sturdevant of The Napa Valley School of Massage to promote holistic health. Check out their website at www.napamassageschool.com to learn more on how you can become a certified massage therapist from one of the premiere locations in the world: Napa Valley, California. Seriously, we could all use a massage at the end of the day.
Join us at the Vallejo People's Garden on Saturday, May 10th from 10am-12:30pm and learn how to lose your lawn without tearing it out. This free how-to talk and tabling event presented by Bay-Friendly Educator and Master Composter Lori Caldwell, along with a Professional Landscape Designer, will provide design and plant selection advice as well as walk you through converting your lawn without breaking your back or wallet. There will be a hands-on demonstration of sheet mulching--an innovative technique of layering materials on top of your lawn, allowing you to plant right into it. Plus, learn how you can participate in your local water agency's water conservation rebate program, which could put some green in your pocket!
Everyone who attends the talk will receive a free copy of the Bay-Friendly Gardening Guide. There will be a drawing for additional garden gifts at the end of the talk.
Check out many more resources for lawn conversion at www.LoseYourLawn.org
Come join us on Saturday, April 5th from 10am to 12 noon. VPG will be hosting a vermiculture and compost talk conducted by Master Gardeners of Solano County. Learn how you can transform your garden and other vegetable waste into dark, rich soil that gardeners call black gold.