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Fresh at Farmers Markets This Week

Tomato sandwiches can be a surprisingly contentious topic. There are the traditional minimalists who say that there is only one, true tomato sandwich: store bought white bread and mayonnaise, a thick-cut raw beefsteak tomato, and a pinch of salt. But, if you’re daring, there are many variations of the tomato sandwich worth giving a try, and with ingredients from area farmers markets, you might find the tomato sandwich that’s just right for you.

Let’s begin with the mainstay of the sandwich; the tomato. Ask your farmer which variety they prefer for tomato sandwiches, they’ll almost certainly have a good recommendation. Heirloom tomatoes abound, so there are plenty to choose from. And then there’s the questions of raw vs cooked. Some say a thin, seared slice is divine, others would recommend blistering cherry varieties. And others would oppose cooking the tomato, vowing that the only right way is raw.

Possibly the most controversial aspect of the sandwich: additional fillers. Definitely try the classic way with just mayo and a tomato slice, if you’re new to the concept, but if you’re bold enough, explore including other ingredients. Just some ideas: bacon, lettuce, microgreens, cheese (pimento, goat chevre, etc), fresh herbs (chives, garlic, or basil perhaps), or whatever your imagination can dream up.

A simple option, but nonetheless crucial: opened faced or closed. The decision here rests on your preferred ratio of bread to flavorful fruit.

Sure, store bought mayonnaise is a great option, but if you have the time and gusto, there’s nothing like homemade mayo. You can use eggs from the farmers market, and you can dress it up with garlic, basil, thyme, sorrel or other tasty herbs and spices.

And lastly, but certainly not least, the backbone of the sandwich, the ingredient that literally holds it all together: the bread. Local bakers at area farmers markets make the most wonderful breads. Sourdoughs, seeded breads, whole wheat breads, gluten-free breads, and even paleo breads can be found. These breads can transport your tomato sandwich to the next level, if you let them.

This is a summer staple not to be missed. At least once this August, visit a farmers tailgate market near you to find all the ingredients you need to make a locally-sourced, locally-baked, locally-inspired tomato sandwich.

Each week farmers have a wide array of fruits and vegetables. In addition to produce, you can always find a range of meats, cheeses, eggs, breads, baked goods, value added items, fresh flowers, and other treats!

Area farmers tailgate markets take place throughout the region. As always, you can find information about farms, tailgate markets, and farm stands, including locations and hours, by visiting ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.