Events

Cucumbers are Your Resolution Solution

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Let these cucumber smoothies gratify those post-holiday sweet and savory cravings


img_0740With all those sugary stocking stuffers and salty leftovers hanging around you may be finding it difficult to kick start those health-related New Year’s resolutions but Village Farms has the answer. You don’t have to give up that sweet and savory balance you love – just channel it in a different direction. Our Sweet Apple and Mint and Savory Breakfast Smoothie are two variations of craveable cucumber smoothies that can start your day right and keep you on track when snack time rolls around.

2015-05-20-15-40-16Talk about convenience, these recipes only dirty up one dish and are something the whole family can enjoy, you can even get the kids involved when you’re combining ingredients – because, let’s face it, if they help you make it they’re more likely to eat it!

The cucumber, apple and mint recipe swaps processed sugars for whole fruits like apples, pears, Mini Cucumbersor bananas. They sneak in some nutrient rich spinach and kale too. Looking more to skip the salt but keep the flavor? The cucumber and bell pepper recipe uses fresh ginger to provide a kick and parsley and lime juice to provide that rich, savory flavor.

Village Farms’ Luscious Seedless Long English® and Scrumptious produce-luscious-seedless-long-englishMini® Cucumbers are loaded with essential nutrients like vitamins K and C and promote a healthy heart and skin. At 95% water they are a great way to stay hydrated as well. These attributes and more make cucumbers a great vegetable to help you start the New Year on the right
foot.

 

Events

Happy Christmas, Texas-Style

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Heavenly Villagio Marzano® Tomato Galette

by Chef Impersonator


So I realize you don’t know me, but I’m really not a baker. Really. I’m a huge cook, but I really don’t bake. Not pies. Not cakes. Not cookies. Not tarts. Not breads. Nothing.

But this is one recipe that even us non-bakers can make. And it’s so darn delicious and so darn simple that you’re going to make it all the time. My Heavenly Village Marzano® Tomato Galette uses, and I say this with no shame whatsoever, a store-bought Pillsbury Pie Crust, some caramelized onions, shredded white cheddar and my very favorite little tomato, the Heavenly Villagio Marzano®. (If you happen to be a baker, and more props to you if you are, go ahead and make your own crust you big showoff!)

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I don’t know how they do it at Village Farms, but I promise you these mini san marzano tomatoes are the best little tomatoes you’ll ever eat. I use them for everything. And when it’s arranged on the top of this open rustic galette (or tart), it’s not only beautiful, it’s like heaven in your mouth. (does that even make sense?) You get what I mean. These tomatoes are amazing!

Galette: a fancy French word for tart – use it and impress your friends. wink. wink.

Once you’ve caramelized your onions, the rest is fast and easy. Bring the dough to room temperature, drain the onions, and place onions, shredded white cheddar and those lovely sliced mini san marzano tomatoes inside the crust in that order. Fold up the edges and bake. It’s pretty small, about the size of a personal pan pizza, so you won’t feed an army on this. But it’s perfect to share with the one you love with a nice salad on the side on Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas!

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Recipe – Heavenly Villagio Marzano® Tomato Galette

Recipe and photography by Nancy Farrar

Events

Cheese and Tomato Pairings for the Perfect Party

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Do something different this holiday: Follow this guide for the perfect cheese and tomato pairings

by Diana Pittet


Nothing signals a special holiday gathering like a cheese platter. Put one on the table and watch the crowd, drink in hand, gather around for a generous slice from a wedge of cheese.

This festive season, instead of garnishing your cheese board with a typical bunch of grapes, surprise, delight, and nourish your guests with some pop-them-in-your-mouth tomatoes.

Swapping grapes for any variety of Village Farms tomatoes may seem unconventional, but it’s not as strange as you may think. Remember: tomatoes are fruits, after all, and they are wonderful companions to cheese, their sweet acidity playing off the richness of the dairy. In a season of regretful overindulging, tomatoes will be a welcome relief for your guests. And it’s super easy for you as the host – no cooking or prepping needed.

Here are some tips for creating your own winning tomato and cheese platters during the winter holidays or scroll down for some pre-set pairings:

Cheese Platter Principles

Variety is key. Just as True Rebel Mix™ is an appealing assortment of colors, flavors, shapes and sizes, so too should your cheese platter. Mix it up with different milk types (cow, sheep, goat, water buffalo); textures (soft; creamy; firm; hard); and styles (fresh–chevre or mozzarella; bloomy rind–think brie; stinky, Cheddar; alpine–Gruyere is an example; blue; etc.). Simply arrange them on a plate and place a bowl of True Rebel Mix™ in the center.

White Cheeses with Red Tomatoes

Pairing Principles

The pairings can be more deliberate than just putting out a mix of cheeses and tomatoes. Select the perfect cheese for a specific Village Farms tomato, just as people pour a particular wine to complement a singular cheese. Rarely are there wrong combinations for a pairing, but there are certainly more successful ones.

Here are three guidelines to steer you in the right direction:

1. Pair like with like. For example, a sweet tomato with a cheese with sweet notes, such as an aged Gouda
2. Pair contrasting flavors, like a salty cheese with a sweet tomato, (think pretzels with chocolate)
3. Pair geographical partners, like a tomato of southern Italian origins with a cheese from that region

Specific Pairings

I used a combination of the three principles for the following tomato pairings.

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Cherry No. 9 Fall in Love Again® & Goat Cheese

When I think of Provence, the southern region of France from where this petite round tomato hails, I think of goat’s milk cheese. For this reason I suggest a fresh goat’s milk cheese–called chevre–or a semi-aged one, such as French bucheron, a goat’s milk brie, or Bannon, for these visually cheerful fruits. This coupling makes gustatory sense, too, as the lemony brightness of the cheese is nicely complemented by the intense sweetness of the cherry tomatoes. For something special, select a goat’s milk cheese mixed or rubbed with Provencal herbs, such as lavender, rosemary, or thyme.

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Heavenly Villagio Marzano® & Italian Cheese

What makes more sense that pairing an Italian tomato with Italian cheese? There are so many directions that you can go in to make bella figura: A bowl of fresh ricotta drizzled with olive oil and fresh herbs; a hunk of Parmigiano Reggiano to chip at; a luscious burrata with a sprinkle of olive oil and black pepper; a wedge of Gorgonzola–any or all served with an accompanying bowl of these heavenly mini san marzano tomatoes. With a little prep, you could skewer the mini tomatoes with cherry-sized balls of mozzarella, for your guests’ ease and delight.

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Cabernet Estate Reserve™ & Sheep’s Milk Cheese

There is no single type of cheese that dominates the middle of the Mediterranean region where the distinctively dark Cabernet Estate Reserve™ was born, but there are indeed quite a variety of sheep’s milk cheeses, each style of which will pair beautifully with the deep flavor of the tomatoes. There are flocks of options: Manchego or Idiazabal from Spain, P’tit Basque or Abbaye de Belloc from France, Pecorino Toscano or Moliterno from Italy; Feta or Halloumi from Greece; Paksi Sir from Croatia–just to name a few. To be especially luxurious at the holidays, be extravagant and offer a sheep’s milk cheese studded with truffles, such as Cacio di Bosco al Tartufo.

Special thanks to Diana Pittet who is a Cheesemonger at The Cheese Cave, Little Silver, N.J. Diana also serves as Vice Chair, NYWCA Renewing Members, Co-Founder of the Night Owl Hospitality & AP Whisky Club, and a Writer, Consultant & Tour Guide for Food & Drink

Events

An old-fashioned Texas Christmas

Cherry No. 9 Thumbprint Cookies

Thumbprint Cookies with Cherry No. 9 Fall in Love Again® Pepper Jelly Jam

by Chef Impersonator


This Texas Christmas recipe combines not one, but two of my favorite food traditions – my grandmother’s Christmas thumbprint cookie recipe, and a filling made with Village Farms Cherry No. 9 Fall in Love Again® tomatoes, mixed with Texas red pepper jelly.

Texans love their hot, spicy jams and jellies! Red pepper jelly isn’t quite as hot as a jalapeño jelly, and blends perfectly with the red, juicy cherry tomatoes. It’s also a break from the traditional super-sweet raspberry jam filling you typically see in thumbprint cookies. The cherry tomatoes are perfect because of their bright red color and their smooth, sweet flavor. The filling is savory, spicy and sweet all at the same time. All you do is combine the cherry tomatoes with red pepper jelly and a bit of sugar and you’re done!

Cherry No. 9 Thumbprint Cookies

Cherry No. 9 Thumbprint Cookies

The cookie dough recipe is so simple even I can make it. I’m not a baker, but this dough takes about 5 minutes, which makes it perfect at this busy holiday time. Be sure to freeze the formed cookies for 15 minutes BEFORE baking. It keeps them from losing their shape in the oven. You fill them with the luscious cherry no. 9 pepper jelly jam when they come out of the oven.

Cherry No. 9 Thumbprint Cookies

Recipe – Thumbprint Cookies with Cherry No. 9 Fall in Love Again® Pepper Jelly Jam

Recipe and photography by Nancy Farrar

Events

A very Texas Christmas

Cabernet Estate Reserve Tamales

A Village Farms Texas Christmas: Hot Damn, Tamales! with Cabernet Estate Reserve Tomato™ Chili Sauce

by Chef Impersonator


I moved to Texas right out of college, and it’s been home now for over 30 years. And as they say:

“I’m not from Texas, but I got here as fast as I could.” 

That old adage is totally true. It’s just a place you want to be. The people, the places, the pride and the food are all what make this state the place I’m proud to call home.

There are lots and lots of food traditions in this great state, but none is stronger and more deeply rooted than making and eating tamales at Christmas. The word tamale actually means “wrapped food” and is found in recorded Mayan history as far back as 5000 BC. The process of making tamales is an all day affair, and that would be the reason why I don’t actually make them.

Now I love to cook and I’ll cook all day long, but why do all that work when there are so many places all over Texas that put every ounce of love they have into making their own tamales? So I buy mine from my friends at Hot Damn, Tamales! in Fort Worth, Texas and I make these little packets of deliciousness my own with the sauces I create to go with them. Hot Damn, Tamales! will ship anywhere in the U.S., so you have no excuse not to get some.

Cabernet Estate Reserve Tamales

This first recipe is a tomato chili sauce I created that combines Village Farms Cabernet Estate Reserve™ tomatoes with mild, fragrant, dried Pasilla chiles. When rehydrated and popped in the Ninja Blender or food processor with some onion, beef stock and spices, you get a tomatoey, smoky sauce that’s just perfect with most any kind of tamale you can buy. I chose the Angus Beef Tamales from Hot Damn, Tamales!, but any flavor would be perfect with this delicious tomato sauce. I chose the Cabernet Estate Reserve™ tomatoes for their beautiful deep cabernet color and rich flavor. When combined with the chiles, they’re just amazing.

Cabernet Estate Reserve Tamales

If you’ve never used Pasilla chiles, never fear. Just slice them open, remove the stems and seeds and soak in beef or chicken stock for 30 minutes. Pop them into the Ninja Blender with the other ingredients, and voila — the perfect sauce to go with your holiday tamales.

Recipe – Hot Damn, Tamales! with Cabernet Estate Reserve™ Tomato Chili Sauce

Recipe and photography by Nancy Farrar

Events

Sauce Up Mealtime

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Sauces. Maybe one of the hardest things to master in the kitchen, and probably one of my favorite things to make. Making sauces with these tomatoes is fantastically easy, because one of the key things to making a great sauce is to use the best possible ingredients to begin with, and another is to do as little with it as possible. I’m a huge fan of keeping it light and simple whenever possible.

Cherry No. 9 Tomatoes

Tomato sauce at home, or in a restaurant, is the perfect outlet for all the tomatoes ripening around your kitchen when you’ve been a little too ambitious about how many you’re going to go through this week, lol. You can let them safely get as ripe as possible, and when you feel like they’re as soft and juicy and fragrant as they’re going to get, into the pot they go. I like to either sweat them clean in a pot with some onion, olive oil, thyme, oregano and chili flakes, or roast them to dry them out a bit and deepen the darker tones of the sauce. If I have a party coming up and they’re small tomatoes, I’ll throw them in a slow oven and dry them right out for oven dried tomatoes for antipasti.

San Marzano Tomatoes

What I particularly love about the mini san marzano tomatoes when it comes to making sauce is how robust and meaty they are. I like to emphasize this as much as possible by adding the chopped mini san marzanos to the cooking process in stages so you still end up with some big meaty pieces, and the ones you add near the end don’t get cooked all the way out so you get rich, chunky texture.

Recipe – Chunky Heavenly San Marzano Sauce

Eggplant Melanzana

Eggplant Melanzana becomes a hearty vegetarian dish when we’ve used the chunky mini san marzano sauce as the base — this makes a great appetizer on its own, or for that matter I’ll often use this as the base for a dinner and top it with grilled chicken or sea bass. I went from not being a fan of eggplant to becoming a full-on convert and huge supporter of the eggplant after traveling in Sicily for a while. I was amazed by how such a dark, imposing vegetable could end up being such a light, refreshing hot weather treat.

One of the keys to dealing with eggplant is to salt and press it ahead of time, even if its only 30–45 minutes, it helps to extract some of the bitterness of the eggplant.

Eggplant Slice

One of the other big things, in particular when you’re making Eggplant Melanzana, is to be sure the eggplant is well cooked & tender prior to the breading stage —

Grilled Eggplant Slices

this will ensure that once it’s cooked again, even for the short time it takes to brown up the crust, it will come out soft and creamy in the middle — an undercooked eggplant is a huge, unappetizing miss, lol.

Eggplant Melanzana

Recipe – Eggplant Melanzana with Chunky Heavenly San Marzano Sauce

The other end of the spectrum is roasting and reducing and hyper-concentrating all those great sugars into an awesome roasted mini san marzano tomato paste.

Roasted San Marzano Tomatoes

San Marzano Puree

San Marzano Puree

Recipe – Heavenly San Marzano Tomato Paste

I’ve talked about it before, but I typically freeze them in ice cube trays, then I’ve always got a little block of intense tomato goodness around in the freezer to add to whatever needs it in the moment…

Zucchini Spaghettini

In this gluten free “faux spaghetti” made from spun zucchini, I use the roasted mini san marzano tomato paste to flavour ricotta for a rich roast tomato finish, and a tart garlicky Cherry No. 9 tomato coulis to dress the noodles. The noodle itself is just raw zucchini done on a spiral cutter,Zucchini Spaghetti

so I either just cook it super lightly in the tomato sauce before serving, or else I’ve been more often than not serving it cold “thai beef salad” style — I whisk a bit of olive oil into the chilled tomato sauce and dress the “zucchini noodles” with it like a vinaigrette, leave it in the fridge overnight to marinate, and serve it as a chilled salad with some fresh lime and toasted pumpkin seeds — super light & fresh.

Zucchini Spaghetti with Sauce

Zucchini Spaghettini

Recipe – Cherry Tomato Crudo Sauce

Recipe – Zucchini “Spaghettini” with Cherry Tomato Crudo Sauce

When I’m dealing with a lighter dish, thinner noodles, seafood, etc., and I’d like a more delicate sauce, I like to make a smooth velvety coulis with lightly roasted Cabernet Estate Reserve™ tomatoes. Great sweetness and a very complex but soft complimentary acidity in the background means this sauce will be subtle but still hold its own with robust flavours.

Cabernet Estate Reserve Tomatoes

The natural sweetness in these seared sea scallops play nicely with the sweetness of the Cabernet tomato coulis, but the sauce also has enough body and acidity in it to balance out the salty pancetta crisps.

Recipe – Cabernet Estate Reserve™ Tomato Coulis

Cabernet Tomato Coulis

Cabernet Tomato Coulis

Recipe – Diver Scallops with Cabernet Estate Reserve™ Tomato Coulis

It’s a nice light sauce for pretty much any fish, great for grilled chicken, and lately I’ve been using it as a sauce to finished sautéed green beans, kale, mustard greens, radicchio, etc. — great complimentary sauce for green vegetables or specifically braised or raw bitter greens.

At the end of the day, I just make it a habit to keep a ready stock of a few different tomato sauces on hand in the freezer, all for different reasons & applications, and you get to see which tomatoes behave the best for you for each different method. Tons of fun, you know exactly what’s in your sauce, and it makes on the fly dinners a touch easier too…

Events

Savory Summer Recipes

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Grilling season is here and we have delicious meal ideas for you with our wonderful exclusive tomato varieties that change outdoor dining and entertaining from blah burgers to healthy foodie fun. Try all of our great varieties such as Sinfully Sweet Campari®, Cabernet Estate Reserve™, Cherry no. 9 Fall in Love Again®, and Heavenly Villagio Marzano®. At Village Farms, we want you to know tomatoes are for much more than a salad
or sandwich.

Try these tasty recipe ideas created for us by our corporate Chef Darren Brown. Let us know how you like them!

Stuffed Campari

grilled ratatouille stuffed mini campari tomatoes

Roasted Cherry and Cabernet Tomatoes with Burrata

roasted cherry and cabernet tomatoes with burrata and basil

Heavenly San Marzano Paste

heavenly san marzano tomato paste

Grilled Tri-color Peppers

grilled tri-color peppers

Events

Saluting our Heritage with Paisano recipes

Village Farms Heritage

2015-05-19_11.41.08In celebration of Village Farms journey over the last 25 years, we salute the company’s heritage that began in Italy just as our exclusive and authentic Heavenly Villagio Marzano® tomatoes. The founder’s father, Fred DeGiglio who was born and raised on the same soil that cultivated the famous San Marzano variety, is commemorated with an exclusive recipe he created along with our corporate chef Darren Brown. Please enjoy these special ‘Paisano’ recipes Fred has passed on to us to savory with our loved ones. These simple countrymen recipes were created to share with friends and family and made all the better complimented by a great Italian red. Mangia!

The journey of Village Farms is depicted in the above painting of a classical village landscape in Italy. This special painting was created especially for Village Farms by the renowned artist Shirley Chapman

Freddy’s Pomodori al Forno

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Freddy’s “Paesano” Potatoes

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Freddy’s Mini San Marzano “Crudaiola”

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Freddy’s Spaghetti with Broccoli Rabe

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Events

2nd annual BC Veggie Day

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DELTA, B.C. – The springtime harvest of greenhouse veggies has begun! It’s time to celebrate their arrival.

This year, Village Farms is participating in the 2nd annual BC Veggie Day, sponsored by the B.C. Greenhouse Growers Association with support from the BC Government’s Buy Local Program.

Village Farms is supporting the event with on-package stickers throughout the entire month of May, and on Saturday, May 23, consumers will have the opportunity to meet the company’s farmers at several key retailer locations in the greater Vancouver area.

Farmers will be on hand all day to speak with consumers and hand out samples of greenhouse grown products. Meet some of Village Farms’ growers in the video above!

2015-05-19_11.41.08Village Farms’ Chef Darren Brown stopped by Vancouver’s CTV News to talk more about the company’s work for BC Veggie Day, and share his recipe for a Rebel Tomato Tart, with greek yogurt, feta, cucumber, and dill.

“It’s a perfect time, all the greenhouses in town are up to full speed and they’re full and lush, so it’s a great time for vegetables,” Brown says.

To watch Chef Darren Brown in action, take a look at the video below…

You can find this recipe, and more on the Village Farms recipe page here.

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Village Farms says it is pleased to be a part of BC Veggie Day, as it is a great opportunity to promote locally greenhouse grown vegetables in British Columbia and bring awareness to sustainable farming.

by Jessica Donnel / andnowuknow

Events

The Garden Fresh Flavor™ Challenge

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HEATHROW, FL – The votes are in, and Village Farms says its Heavenly Villagio Marzano® variety has been voted the “Best Flavored Tomato” in the company’s Garden Fresh Flavor™ Challenge at this year’s PMA Fresh Summit.

Going up against Village Farms’ Lip Smackin’ Grapes® tomato and Sinfully Sweet Campari® varieties, visitors to Village Farms’ booth favored the San Marzano tomato’s flavor during the blind taste test. The other two varieties were very close seconds, however, showing the strength of Village Farms’ entire menu of offerings, according to a press release.

What did visitors have to say about the Heavenly Villagio Marzano®? “A little tomato with full flavor,” “a great mouth feel and bite,” “sensational,” “sweet,” and “outstanding” were just a few of the descriptions offered during this great showing.

Doug Kling, Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer for Village Farms shared, “It is no surprise this great tasting snacking tomato won the award for best flavored tomato at PMA. But did you know that Heavenly Villagio Marzano® is also an excellent cooking tomato?”

If the popularity of the Heavenly Villagio Marzano® tomato at Fresh Summit is any indication, many more people will be learning about the great flavor profile and versatility of the variety over the coming months.

When Village Farms’ new website launches in late 2014, the grower shares that it will be supporting the variety with an exciting set of cooking instructions and recipes. With the support of these materials, consumers will be able to test Doug’s claim for themselves. If you ask me, I’m confident that they won’t be disappointed.

by Jordan Okumura / andnowuknow