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It’s tomato time at Big Barn!

The time is here! It’s time to plant your tomatoes!

We all know that they’re the ingredient of the summer. They bring together all of the ingredients you use for your BBQ’s, salads,, frying and however you like them we all know a perfectly ripe tomato can’t be beaten, especially if it is ugly!

Yep, this summer, ignore the perfectly round red ones and go for something which makes you raise a eyebrow The general rule is; the uglier they are, the better they are. ┬áTry growing your own so you get to see a variety of tomatoes and then make sure you eat them fresh and naturally ripe and they’ll be brilliant.

iStock chilli salsa XSmall

 

Right on queue for our tomato week, the English weather throws us a curveball. As we write this, it’s drizzly and 14 degrees C! Not exactly, what you have in mind when you think about delicious tomatoes ripening in your greenhouse under the summer sun! Nonetheless, we can forgive the weather because once they’re ready, tomatoes are unbelievably good for us. They’re absolutely chock full of vitamins A, C and E, as well as the antioxidant lypocene, which helps to tackle those pesky free radicals in the body that can harm our cells.

So, not only are they healthy, they’re actually really interesting – take a look:
1. They can be yellow, pink, purple, black and even white.
2. Walt Disney World Resort has the largest single tomato plant in the world. It covers 56.73 metres sq. That’s bigger than an Olympic size swimming pool
3. Heinz Tomato Ketchup has a speed limit. If the sauce pours at more than 0.028mph in the Heinz factory, it’s considered too runny and is rejected.
4. La Tomatina is an annual festival in Spain, where people throw 150,000 tomatoes at each other.
5. The largest ever tomato on record was picked in Oklahoma, USA, in 1986. It weighed over 3.5kg
6. There are around 10,000 varieties of tomatoes worldwide

Best of all, now’s the time to get your hands on the very best, beautiful British tomatoes! If like, us you’ve been making the most of lockdown and have been growing your own, make sure you keep them watered! One thing we’re really excited about at this time of year is that you really can taste the difference when British tomatoes hit the shelves. Expect crunchy skins and sweet, fresh flesh.

Even if you’re not a fan of sinking your teeth straight into a ripe tomato, you can still enjoy the many pleasures they bring to your salads, soups and sauces to get your fill of all the good stuff!

Farm shops and grocers are a fantastic place to find the very freshest tomatoes and, if you’re lucky, you might even find a pick your own near you. Visit our local food map to find retailers and farms in your area.

Fresh local tomatoes at you local shop

Fresh local tomatoes at your local shop

Or, if you prefer your tomatoes bottled up or preserved, then there’s a whole host of amazing producers in the BigBarn MarketPlace making wonderful things from delicious British tomatoes. Take a look and buy online.

We highly recommend having a go at growing some at home, in the greenhouse, garden, or window ledge. Ask your local garden centre or gardener about the best variety to buy for taste and to suit the space you have for growing. Some grow as a bush, others will climb up to 7 feet tall!

If you have a favourite tomato recipe that you’d like to share, or any other recipe, and would like the chance to win a prize, please video your recipe and add it to KIS (Keep it Simple) Cookery. Please have a look at existing videos here and try and keep your video less than 2 minutes long.

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