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Picking and Grinning May 20, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Gratitude, Happiness, Travel & Leisure.

A few days ago, to celebrate an unexpected break in the weather, we drove out to Hunsader Farms to pick tomatoes.

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A picture perfect day to head out into the fields.

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Due to high supply and insufficient demand, the price of the U-Pick Tomatoes dropped to $2 a bag or bucket.

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We picked 56 tomatoes, at the peak of perfection, to fill our bucket.

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Picking and grinning the whole time.

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Before leaving the farm, we wandered around the petting zoo and met the residents as they bleated, “We’re hungry.  Feed us.”

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Does this guy seem a bit horny to you?

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In addition to hungry goats begging for oats, we spied a few other natives hanging around.

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We enjoyed meeting the Hay Family ~ Fescue, Timothy, Alfalfa and Clover.

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But we didn’t catch this guy’s name ~> he was a bit of a stuffed shirt.

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Our bucket of summer goodness didn’t impress Tigger, despite the price.

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Because man cannot live by tomatoes alone, we bought a few token sweet potatoes, zucchini, red peppers, carrots, and a cantaloupe.

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We also got a 50 pound box of butternut squash for $5.  Enough to fill a laundry basket in our pantry and keep us full of fiber until the fall harvest.

But the first thing we ate ~> tomatoes!

Aah . . . that’s better!



1. suzicate - May 20, 2014

Now, that is not what I expected from the title “picking and grinning” though delightful none the less! Love fresh tomatoes! Do you can your tomatoes or make salsa or sauce?

nrhatch - May 20, 2014

I do make salsa and sauce with fresh tomatoes, but I’ve never canned any. If we can’t eat them all, I will freeze some.

We’ve been enjoying them sliced on our plates, tucked into sandwiches and wraps, melted into Queso Rice, sauteed with zucchinis, and tossed into a pot of peppery Lecsó:


We’re in tomato heaven!

suzicate - May 21, 2014

I had no idea you could freeze tomatoes! Do you freezes them whole, sliced, or diced?

nrhatch - May 21, 2014

A neighbor who picked FIVE buckets of tomatoes said that she just cuts off the tops, holds them upside down to squeeze out the seeds and juice, and tosses them in bags in the freezer.

When I’ve frozen tomatoes, I’ve cooked them with onion, garlic, and basil or oregano, and then frozen the sauce to use in casseroles, to stir into rice, to top pizza, or to serve over pasta.

2. colonialist - May 20, 2014

Fun outing! Where were Dorothy, Toto and Lion?
The horny character looks as if he could have a real go at you! (Just poking fun. )

nrhatch - May 20, 2014

They abandoned Scarecrow to head to the fields to pick tomatoes. I think that Tin Man got baa-cked into a corner by that horny goat.

3. Jill Weatherholt - May 20, 2014

What a fun outing! Looks like it was a picture perfect day too!

nrhatch - May 20, 2014

An amazing day for Florida in May ~ a full 20 degrees cooler than the day before. A balmy 70 degrees with a gorgeous breeze, no humidity, no bugs, and lots of sunshine.

The kind of day you want to bottle up and save for a rainy day.

4. anotherday2paradise - May 20, 2014

How lovely to pick your own fresh tomatoes, Nancy. I see that scarecrow can’t read the sign. 🙂

nrhatch - May 20, 2014

Maybe he can’t read ~ scarecrows are not the most literate characters in the barnyard (“. . . if I only had a brain”).

It’s our first time picking tomatoes in Florida (other than a few I’ve grown on the back deck). They are the BEST tomatoes we’ve had since moving here. Picking them after they ripen on the vine makes all the difference.

5. Pix Under the Oaks - May 20, 2014

Hmmm.. I see some of your tomato and black bean salsa!!! We won’t be thinking about picking our tomatoes until mid-July! Tigger is looking for his little treat bag.. 🙂 You guys look great!

nrhatch - May 20, 2014

Thanks, Pix! I am feeling great ~ kicking my exercise routine up a notch (or three) has done wonders for my serotonin levels. I have been in a great mood for 3 weeks straight ~> no worries, cares, stale regrets, anger, frustration, etc. It’s G~R~E~A~T!

I did make tomato and black bean salsa! And a delicious burrito filling (Queso Rice) with rice, tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic, black beans, roasted butternut squash, and Daiya Cheese:


We’ve enjoyed it hot and cold in a wrap and also as a dip for tortilla chips. The squash just melts into the background while the tomatoes POP!

6. Kate @ Did That Just Happen? - May 20, 2014

I love that! What a great market!

nrhatch - May 20, 2014

It was our first visit . . . it will NOT be our last. If we make enough headway on the tomatoes, we’ll head out again next week for another bucket before they close for the summer. They take June through August “off” and reopen in September.

7. katecrimmins - May 20, 2014

OMG! I am so jealous!

nrhatch - May 20, 2014

I wish I’d heard about this place when we first moved here. It’s a bit of a drive – about 25 miles – but much of the drive is through open farmland with cows grazing. Very relaxing.

8. nancytex2013 - May 20, 2014

Those prices are amazing!

nrhatch - May 20, 2014

And these are NOT bargain basement tomatoes ~ they are some of the best we’ve ever had. Mmm, mmm . . . GOOD!

nancytex2013 - May 20, 2014

They look delicious!

9. diannegray - May 20, 2014

I’d love that place because I love tomatoes (in fact, tomatoes feature heavily in my novel WolfPear! – a wolfpear is a type of tomato) 😀

What a great day this must have been for you and I think your new friends may be a bit ‘stuffy’ but could be a lot of fun 😉

nrhatch - May 20, 2014

I’m satisfied with most of the produce we buy at Publix (supermarket) and the Fresh Market. But the tomatoes usually don’t taste as good as they look. These do. So I’m in heaven!

10. Crowing Crone - May 20, 2014

Looks like you had a great outing all around. Fresh picked tomatoes always taste of sunshine don’t you think?

nrhatch - May 20, 2014

Yes! Summer and sunshine rolled into a pretty red package.

11. ericjbaker - May 20, 2014

Is it possible to avoid buying way more than you can possibly eat at those places? I think not.

nrhatch - May 20, 2014

At least it’s all low fat & high fiber! Mangia!

I would do the tomatoes again ~> they are so much better than at the grocery store and I’m sure we’ll eat them all. I might not get such a BIG box of squash again. I just “processed” 7 of them by peeling, cubing, steaming, and mashing them. They are good . . . but not THAT good.

12. Behind the Story - May 20, 2014

It’s such a pleasure to look at fresh produce. On Saturday, I walked around our open air market, and since I didn’t need anything, I enjoyed just looking.

nrhatch - May 21, 2014

I feel the same about farmer’s markets ~ such a delight to see all the gorgeous produce. Food is my favorite thing to shop for.

13. jannatwrites - May 21, 2014

Great deal on tomatoes! (I’m not surprised Tigger didn’t seem impressed… then again, what does impress a cat? 🙂 )

nrhatch - May 21, 2014

Tigger loves to inspect our packages when we come in to see if we bought anything for him. He gets excited if we give him a bag with “his name on it.”

14. pix & kardz - May 21, 2014

haha, i liked the one who was a bit of a stuffed shirt. those tomatoes look gorgeous. i can almost smell them from here… can just imagine them on a slice of rye bread topped with some fresh chopped chives…..

nrhatch - May 21, 2014

The tomatoes have been fabulous, Kris. We’ve enjoyed a few on sliced Toscano Pano from the Fresh Market ~ it’s chewy and dense like rye bread, the perfect complement to tomatoes.

15. Three Well Beings - May 22, 2014

How wonderful to have all those great tomatoes! I love tomatoes! And all that squash! Wow! I hope you have figured out a way to use it all, or preserve it. Lucky you! 🙂 And it looks like fun!

nrhatch - May 22, 2014

We’re enjoying the tomatoes with every meal (except breakfast) ~ tomato sandwiches, bruschetta, salsa, lecho, burritos and wraps . I’ve cooked & mashed about 1/2 the squash and stashed in the freezer. I used some mashed squash for a yummy burrito filling with rice, black beans, Daiya cheese, onions, peppers, tomatoes, and spices. We’ve also just had it as a vegetable side ~ I like mine plain, just salt, pepper, and a dot of butter. BFF drizzles his with maple syrup.

16. bluebee - May 23, 2014

I have no doubt those sun-ripened tomatoes smelled divine – yum, yum.

nrhatch - May 23, 2014

So much better than some of the “cardboard” tomatoes we’ve had in recent years. Bright, light, and fragrant.

17. I am J - May 23, 2014

Looks like you hit the mother lode of Nature’s best. Yummy! (Loved the “stuffed shirt.”) 🙂

nrhatch - May 23, 2014

Thank, J! We had tomato sandwiches for lunch on homemade oatmeal bread. I’m still grinning.

Tonight, I’m roasting up some potatoes and butternut squash.

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