Trade wars are never good for food. Prices and availability are affected and even threats of tariffs can cripple our craving for our best loved groceries. Sometimes the weather plays a part, but that’s not anything we can control. When governments start playing games, consumers end up in the middle through shortages and/or higher prices.
Such was the case with tomatoes, at the center of a spat between the American and Mexican Departments of Commerce.
In 1996 the US and Mexico signed a trade pact that was supposed to level the playing field on Mexican imports of tomatoes and Florida grown tomatoes. All was good, until last year when the US pulled out of the bilateral tomato pact. Whatever the hell a bilateral pact means. I think I was absent that day in government class my junior year of high school.
Anyway, they settled the dispute last week and for now, our beloved cherry, grape, plum, greenhouse and pear tomatoes are safe. No word yet on how the new agreement affects illegal Mexican migrant workers who pick our tomatoes.
I love tomatoes. They are rich in antioxidants and high in vitamin A and C. I love growing them and vine-ripened tomatoes add color, taste and flavor to almost anything you can come up with.
And what better way to showcase tomatoes than in a salad?
To do this I like to use heirloom cherry or grape tomatoes in a Boccincini salad.
As you know, Bocconcini is marinated fresh mozzarella balls and I highlight them with classic cherry tomatoes, lemony yellow grape tomatoes and hybrid orange tomatoes.
2 Cups Assorted Colored Tomatoes
1 Cup Boccincini
1 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves
Salt/Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Slice each of the tomatoes in half and toss in a bowl with the Bocconcini, herbs, garlic, oil, salt, and pepper. Serve on a platter with herb leaves.
You can get Boccincini at almost any fine food store. It’s nothing more than fresh mozzarella marinated in olive oil, garlic, freshly ground black pepper and garden grown rosemary. Sound good on a pizza?
4 Slices Pita Bread
Fresh Spinach, Washed & Trimmed
10 Fresh Basil Leaves
½ Lb. Assorted Tomatoes
½ Lb. Boccincini
1 Tbs. Pine Nuts
6 Butter Lettuce Leaves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place pita bread on baking sheet and divide remaining ingredients on each piece of pita bread. Drizzle each with olive oil. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese begins to melt.
So whether you say tomato or tomato, have fun this summer growing them and don’t be shy about using our friend the, the tomato.
Happy growing everybody.