A few weeks back, I had the opportunity to visit Tutti Frutti Farms, one of the local California growers who supplies organic heirloom tomatoes, peppers, and gourds to Von’s stores. When Vons contacted me with an invitation to tour the farm, I was curious. I certainly didn’t expect to find myself on a gorgeous farm nestled in the hills of Santa Ynez.
It’s always been a bit of a mystery to me where my fruits and veggies come from before I see them all shiny and perfect in the store. I just sort of close my eyes and secretly hope that they aren’t completely covered with pesticides or other nasty things.
I never my product was coming from a family run, and completely charming little organic farm right here in California. It was so refreshing to see tomatoes and bell peppers being grown organically, without any pesticides. The rows upon rows of bell peppers where the most impressive. The bell peppers smelled so spicy and pungent that we stopped to pick and eat them right off the vine!
After touring the fields, I taste testing a variety of heirloom tomatoes with the farmer’s daughter (yes, she was as cute as you can imagine). Like any good taste tasting, we started with the most mild (least acidic) yellow tomatoes and worked our way up through orange, red, and dark purple “chocolate stripe” varieties with more acidic qualities. Of course I was dreaming up all the dishes I would make with each color! Red for pasta sauce & orange for capreze. Lucky for me, lunch was soon after.
We were prepared an amazing farm-to-table feast featuring all of the veggies from the farm and served outdoors with a view of tomato fields. Creamy squash soup, spicy heirloom tomato juice that only lacked vodka, caprese salad, panzanella, sautéed kale, eggplant towers, and kabocha squash pie for dessert. (just to name a few of the many dishes!)
It really was an incredible day. I am so happy to know that I’m supporting local growers when I shop at Von’s stores. And I’m not just saying that! This post wasn’t sponsored by Von’s…it was just inspired by them and by my day on the farm!
photos by Joanne Pio