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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Ugly Tomato Rescue and Free Watermelon

When I visited the Farmer's Market, I went for potatoes and tomatoes. The potato guy was packing up to leave, but he said the guy across the way had red, new potatoes. As I walked over, two women were thanking him for free tomatoes.

He had two left. One was sooo  ugly. I asked him how I could get free tomatoes. He said the last two were not pretty. I assured him that did not matter, so he bagged them for me. Finally, he mumbled that he had been giving away tomatoes to people who bought something. That sort of embarrassed me.

I assured him that his neighbor told me to come over for potatoes. He packed up lots of potatoes, and I was on my way.  For $2, I was taking home much food! The potatoes weighed 4 lbs! He kept peeling an apple and feeding it to me so I would buy apples. He peeled the apple thick and started to throw it away along with the remainder of the apple. I sort of shrieked that my chicken would eat the apple remains, so he dumped the rest of the apple in with the tomatoes.

I passed  a table where the vendor had left half a watermelon. Putting my bag of tomatoes and bag of potatoes on the table beside the watermelon, I loudly proclaimed the watermelon as mine for my chickens.

At the other end of the market, the guy with lemonade had left. So, I talked to two guys, vendors, and bought three nice tomatoes for $1. He told me to pick what I wanted and he would price them.

Back home, I took the watermelon to Dominique. Usually, she won't approach the food until I put it down. She came right over and wanted to put her head in the bag to get the watermelon.

The ugly tomato must have weighed two pounds and had several "lobes" on it. The other tomato was dead ripe. That night, I noticed the better, smaller tomato was leaking. I only got a piece maybe the size of an egg from it.  While I was at it, I washed the other tomato and sliced off the "lobes" and put them in a bowl.

When a tomato is sad and overripe and starting to leak, just cut off the better part. Actually, don't wait until it leaks. You know when a tomato is going bad. Cutting off the parts you don't want to eat will salvage the tomato. Otherwise, it will continue to deteriorate and be inedible. The other three tomatoes will be eaten tomorrow along with the chunked off ugly tomato.

Today, Dominique loved the leaky tomato and the rest of the ugly tomato that was trimmed off.  Since I forgot to give her apple today, she will get that tomorrow along with her oats.

$3 was my total. Enough potatoes for 2 weeks, 3 good tomatoes, free ugly tomatoes, and free watermelon for my chickens was the haul.

Tomorrow is another market day!

Your turn
I know some of you go to farmer's markets that sell local food. Raise your hand. What do you buy? Do you get free food or misshapen, overripe fruit at the end of the day? Any produce for your chickens?


  1. We did our weekly trip to our farmers' market today and got a bag of 5 big slicing tomatoes, a huge zucchini, 3 jalapeno peppers, and 2 limes. From the vendor at the next stall I bought a large bunch of cilantro, big bunch of carrots, a bundle of bok choy, bunch of green onions, 2 large cucumbers and a huge bundle of Chinese eggplant. My husband bought two large bunches of bananas, and on the way out we bought a mid-size sugar loaf pineapple. Total spent for everything was $32. I'd buy ugly tomatoes if they had them here, but I've never seen 'ugly produce' at our market. The cilantro always comes with the roots still attached - I've found it keeps much longer that way versus having the roots trimmed off. The pineapple was our splurge - once you've had a fresh-picked, ripe Hawaiian pineapple there is no going back.

    My husband and I are always there when the market opens, but we'd probably get better deals if we waited until people were packing up. But then they'd also be out of a lot of stuff we want/need. Laura

  2. nomad,
    When I got to bananas and pineapple, I was thinking those are not local. Then, my foggy brain you are in Hawaii. If pineapple got any better, I don't think I could handle it. I might just eat the whole thing in one sitting.

    I just don't want to get up so early since I had rather stay up late. I manage to run in at closing or an hour before. They only stay open until 2 pm. I do miss things by going late, and I hate that. I do appreciate the deals I get. In the past, I have gone twice a day. It's easy since I live 4 blocks from the Farmer's Market. If I could walk that far or ride a bike I would.

  3. I keep forgetting to go to our farmers market. It's only on Fridays for just a couple of hours. There are a lot of fresh produce markets around here that I can go to anytime, but of course, they're more expensive. I guess I just take it for granted that I can go there anytime though.

    1. Lorraine,
      This market is twice during the week and again on Saturday, and still I forget! I don't want to go to a market that goes to Birmingham and buys from a big truck.

      Okay, here is your reminder to go tomorrow.

  4. Ugly fruit & veggies - in April Whole Foods announced, that in order to help reduce food waste, it would be selling "ugly" fruit and veggies. What a concept !! Many, if not most, of our heirloom varieties have superior taste if not looks. As you know, it 'pays' to like ugly :)

    1. Tom,
      I am sure that until the advent of the modern supermarket, no one rejected "ugly" fruit. I know as a child we ate whatever was brought in the house from our garden.

      This tomato was one of those bred "ugly." It had about five lobes on it. Still, a cut could be made straight across for a sandwich, although the tomato slice would hang off the bread.

      I had part of it for dinner last night with salad greens and chicken breast with dressing over all. I could have three more meals like that with the one tomato.

      The only ugly thing I won't eat is yellow squashes with bumps on them. I just buy the smooth ones so I don't have to throw it out.

  5. Ugly tomatoes have the best taste. When I see rowa of perfect round red tomatoes I pass. I know they have been gassed to ripen at the same time. If a tomato has odd appendages or black circles I know that tomato will have the best flavor. We are lucky to have various farmers markets close by, almost every except Sunday and most are contracted to only sell local.

  6. carol,
    The tomatoes I brought home were supposed to be ugly because they were old timey tomatoes. I think the black circles are rot, so they should stay with the seller. Maybe not. We have only one other market, but I think they buy from out of town, but the people are mean that sell there. They meet in a field instead of the beautiful market the city erected. I think their location makes them mean. I don't like slogging through wet grass or dodging fire ants, so the concrete floor is for me.

  7. That was a really good haul. You always find good deals.

  8. Sonya Ann,
    Thanks; I try. It's fun!


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