july 23, 2013
Nobody does heirloom tomatoes like Amy Hicks and George Ferguson of Amy’s Garden in Charles City County, Virginia. Amy introduced me to heirloom tomatoes years ago when we were both vendors at the Williamsburg Farmer’s Market. Produce sold by Amy and other farmers made its way into baked goods I sold at the market, some of which remain on The Good Eats Company menus seasonally : tomato walnut spice bread, provencal tartlets with goat cheese and roasted vegetables and strawberry honey pecan muffins.
Today Amy and George have a very strong presence on the local farmer’s market scene, continuing to sell their pristine organic produce at the South of the James Market and Byrd House Market here in Richmond, as well as in Colonial Williamsburg. Amy’s flower arrangements are legendary and she has given many a workshop locally about the art and soul of growing organically.
This year, their heirloom tomato selections include green zebra (my favorite for looks and taste), black cherry, porter, jaune flamme and cherokee purple (the misshapen beauties above). After tasting the jaune flamme variety, I had a yen to craft this salad highlighting their tender juiciness and contrasting the sweetness with something pleasantly salty.
Flamme (jaune flamme = yellow flame) tomatoes have the size and color of apricots and their reputation for prolific production make them ideal for the Southern garden. I see this dish as perfect for when it’s too darn hot to cook and lighter fare fits the bill.
Feta cheese is dusted onto the salad, but if you crave more protein in your meal, opt for chunks or wedges. Thick shavings of a good parmesan would also be welcome. Dressing may be made ahead, but the salad is not a keeper and must be enjoyed soon after composing.
Light, tasty, easy and taking full advantage of local, seasonal produce – what’s not to love?
tomato watermelon salad with feta and mint
recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
makes 6 servings
1 pound tomatoes, preferably heirloom and/or local, sliced
3 cups seedless watermelon, chilled and cut in small wedges
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 1/2 T capers, rinsed
1/3 cup fresh mint, coarsely chopped
dressing : 2 T white wine vinegar, 4 T extra virgin olive oil,
1/2 T dijon mustard, one medium large garlic clove (grated), one pinch
fine sea salt, one pinch ground white pepper
- Arrange tomato and watermelon on large platter.
- Whisk together dressing ingredients and drizzle over fruits.
- Scatter feta, capers and mint atop salad.
- If desired, sprinkle coarse sea salt flakes on salad for extra flavor.