TOMATOES; Celebrated, Home-Grown, and on the Market


What would your life be like without homegrown tomatoes? Maybe not as delicious.

Though technically a fruit, the USDA labels the tomato as a vegetable. As a “vegetable” it’s the second most popular in the nation, as the U.S. consumes over 5 billion dollars worth of them per year.

This next hour we’re devoting entirely to the tomato; as we talk about its presence in backyards, at summer festivals, and in the supermarket- as well as its perks and its flaws.


  • Mary Hudson (Reynoldsberg Tomato Festival)
  • Debra Knapke (Ohio’s “Garden Sage”)
  • Barry Estabrook (author and investigative food journalist)

Read More:

  • Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival
  • Eggplant Casserole, from the kitchen of Debra Knapke
    In a 9” x 13” pan layer:

    • 1 med.            eggplant, cubed ½” or so
    • 2-5 cloves       garlic, sliced or diced,
    • 1-2 med.         onions, sliced
    • 1-2                 red pepper, ½” pieces
    • 1                    green pepper, ½” pieces
    • lots                olives (I use 1 c. or so… pitted kalamata or mixed olives; use canned only if you don’t have “real” olives)
    • 1 15 oz. can    white beans–cannelini (white kidney beans) are the best
    • 1 28 oz. can    diced tomatoes (my favorite is Muir Glen) fresh tomatoes are even better: 6-7 large tomatoes cubed
    • 1-3 tsp.           Greek Seasoning from Penzy’s (or: 1 tsp. oregano, ½ tsp. thyme, ½ tsp. rosemary, salt, pepper, lemon zest) as always…. to taste

  • Pour over the above:  ¼. c. good olive oil Bake at 350º covered for 1 to 1 ½ hours
  • Top with feta cheese, crumbled …. how much? ….. 8 oz….. to your taste
  • ¼ c.               fresh lemon juice        ¼. c.              good olive oil       pour over the feta


Bake uncovered ½ hr.; should be very bubbly.  Serve over bread (La Chatelaine’s 6-grain is perfect).  Superb with a medium bodied red wine: Sangiovese or Merlot or a Belgian Witbeer or Double.

NOTE: this recipe is very flexible… no eggplant, use summer squash; use green beans cut into bite-sized pieces; add one or two diced jalapeño chilies; put a layer of basil leaves in the middle; put a layer of collards or kale in the middle… limited only by your garden and your imagination.

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