The Tomato Man at the Del Ray Farmer’s Market is to tomatoes what Mario Batalli is to pasta; what Morton’s is to steak; what fresh squeezed is to orange juice.
In other words, the Tomato Man is the real deal.
I come from a long line of tomato snobs. We don’t eat hydroponic tomatoes, we don’t eat tomatoes from the grocery store and we don’t eat tomatoes from about mid-September to July. In other words, we are tomato deprived for most of the year.
We wait, with almost palpable anticipation, for the road side stands and farmer’s markets that signal summer’s bounty.
Imagine then our delight in finding the Tomato Man at the Del Ray Farmer’s Market.
Tomato Man is also known as David Giusti, an Alexandria native, Oberlin College graduate and now, farmer.
While still in college, David saw a flyer offering a summer ‘internship’ working on a farm in Virginia.
He thought it sounded ‘kind of cool’, signed up and went back year after year.
In 2009 he struck out on his own, renting land and joining the network of farms that make up Local Harvest.
David’s farm, Second Spring, grows “crop varieties [that] are selected for flavor and farmed with sustainable, responsible practices only.” Whether by choice or chance, David seems to have majored in heirloom tomatoes – much to our delight.
Each week his table is filled with at least 10 varieties of heirlooms from the classic red Brandywine to the beautiful yellow Pineapple. David can tell you about each one and what it is best used for.
We have sampled all of them and have yet to declare a favorite. It’s more fun to mix and match and just let the flavors explode. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, tomatoes are on the menu. After all, we only get to do this for a few more weeks.
Ummm, wonder if Virginia would like to take up canning?
But don’t take my word for it. Make your own pilgrimage to the Tomato Man at the Del Ray Farmer’s Market.
And after you’ve finished shopping we can go house hunting. Call me at 703.927.4554.