By Jana Jones
Johnson County Farmer’s Market Manager
First we want to send a big thank you to all who came out to the Farmers Market for the annual tomato tasting contest last Saturday. It was a great success as customers and vendors alike were able to taste 15 different delicious varieties at the UT Extension booth. The first place ribbon went to the Super Sweet 100’s cherry tomato donated by “A Bushel and A Peck Farm.” A fun nutrition fact – the Super Sweet 100’s have the highest vitamin C content of any tomato. The second place ribbon went to Black From Tula, a Russian heirloom tomato, which was also donated by A Bushel and A Peck Farm. The third place winner, also an heirloom from Sweet Springs Farm, was a Black Krim tomato which originates from the Isle of Krim in the Black Sea. Congratulations to the winners and a big thank you to all of the farms who donated the beautiful contenders.
Tomatoes will be plentiful throughout September at the Farmers Market and are one of the healthiest foods on the planet according to The World’s Healthiest Foods website, whfoods.com. “Tomatoes are widely known for their outstanding antioxidant content, including, of course, their oftentimes-rich concentration of lycopene. Researchers have recently found an important connection between lycopene, its antioxidant properties, and bone health. Intake of tomatoes has long been linked to heart health. Fresh tomatoes and tomato extracts have been shown to help lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. In addition, tomato extracts have been shown to help prevent unwanted clumping together (aggregation) of platelet cells in the blood – a factor that is especially important in lowering risk of heart problems like atherosclerosis. Tomatoes are a treasure of riches when it comes to their antioxidant benefits. In terms of conventional antioxidants, tomatoes provide an excellent amount of vitamin C and beta-carotene; a very good amount of the mineral manganese; and a good amount of vitamin E. In terms of phytonutrients, tomatoes are basically off the chart.”
So now that you know how healthy tomatoes are for you, I want to leave you with a wonderful fresh tomato base soup recipe. This is a cold soup full of garden vegetables (all, of course, available at the Farmers Market) I love this soup on these hot summer days. It is called Gazpacho and is a traditional Spanish cold soup.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.