It's been a busy autumn, and I am way, way behind on my posting, as evidence by the late-season tomatoes shown in this picture. It was the last Sunday in September, and I was at the Ayers Creek Farm Booth putting these amazing looking tomatoes into a paper bag, when a bright yellow canvas Ayers Creek shopping bag was suddenly placed into my free hand. I was so focused on the tomatoes that I didn't notice Anthony Boutard walk over the the bag (Made In The USA.). As he turned to return to his check out station he told me that he had read my sob story blog post from earlier in the summer, what a friendly gesture!!! This surprise however, wasn't the highlight of the trip as I discovered later.
I had received Anthony's newsletter a few days earlier and his comments about their Astiana variety of tomatoes - "our culinary tomato for making sauces. We found this tomato at a market in the town of Asti in the Piedmont of Italy." - had me excited. I expected plum tomatoes, not these giants, so my anticipation was even greater. Although he had forewarned us in the booth that morning that the tomatoes were not 'sweet,' I got a bit scared when I was peeling them and tasted a piece...he, wasn't kidding...nice acid, very good tomato flavor, but virtually no sugar! I began to doubt its value as a 'sauce" tomato. As they began to cook down with some garlic and olive oil, the aroma permeated my apartment, and got more enticing as time went on. After about 45 minutes of cooking, I took my first taste, and the sauce was simply amazing, bursting with rich tomato flavor...my Tiger Striped Romas couldn't even compare. I was truly annoyed as I finished the last of the sauce later that week, annoyed that I had only bought four pounds.