It might not be the most bitter winter in recent memory, but in February fresh produce is still pretty scarce even when it’s 62. So in recent weeks we’ve been happily guzzling a slew of picked-in-summer-and-minimally-processed local produce products like this tomato juice from Migliorelli Farm. It’s so good we couldn’t even keep from drinking it long enough to take a photo; this is real deal tomato juice. Pulpy and bright, one step above drinking straight puree, which we’ve been known to do as well.
The Tivoli, N.Y. grower–find them at dozens of Greenmarkets citywide–also has tomato sauces (three for $15 last time we went by) and frozen vegetables like kale, corn, mustard greens and Brussels sprouts.
We’re even happier about scoring a taste of summer out of season because we know the backstory of the products: Our last issue included a piece on locavore entrepreneur Jim Hyland, who created a processing and co-packing plant for local farms after realizing his CSA grower had to compost a ton of his excellent kale when he couldn’t sell it all at harvest time. Why couldn’t that farmer freeze or can his crops, thought Hyland, just like he did? The answer was that there weren’t any processing plants geared to small farmers, so Hyland created Farm-to-Table co-packers in Kingston, N.Y., so that farmers could can or freeze or jar their crops when they couldn’t sell them all fresh. He’ll even buy the end result off of them, selling it wholesale or from Winter Sun Farms, the frozen (and jarred) veggie CSA he launched at the same time.
Now he helps farmers like Migliorelli and S&SO Produce sell their crops even when they are out of season. S&SO also stocks tomato sauce, which is plenty tasty, but we’re currently addicted to their dried shallot powder, which we’ve already added to homemade mac and cheese, deviled eggs and potato salad to excellent reviews. We are proud to say we haven’t tried drinking it straight–yet.
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