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Village Farms Amps up Flavor Game with Summer Grilling Campaign

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As Seen on The Produce News

Summertime is outdoors time, and this means grill time! We are all in full swing with the grilling and chilling season. Thank goodness Village Farms has just kicked off their “Grillin’ & Chillin” campaign to keep the party going. Tomatoes, Peppers, and Cucumbers are the mainstay of any great barbeque and Village Farms is ready with some usual and unusual ways to make your mealtimes pop. The campaign focuses on recipe ideas shared through Village Farms social media channels and on their website over the next several months created exclusively for Village Farms by their favorite influencers. 

These tantalizing recipes feature Village Farms’ exclusive specialty tomatoes such Heavenly Villagio Marzano®, Maverick Mix®, Cabernet Estate Reserve®, and Cherry no. 9®, as well as their signature tomato varieties Sinfully Sweet Campari®, and the all-new Sensational Sara®. Not to mention their tried-and-true varieties such as Juicy Beefsteak®, Delectable TOV® and Savory Roma® tomatoes, also Sweet Bells® bell peppers, Luscious Long English® cucumbers and Scrumptious Mini® cucumbers.

Nothing like a hot summer day, grillin’ and chillin’ with the wonderful flavors of Village Farms Greenhouse Grown tomatoes. They are ripe and ready to boost your category. Char-grill a vine of Sinfully Sweet Campari® tomatoes to sauce up your burger creations. Then beeline to your beach chair with Campari Watermelon Cooler in hand that is so easy-peasy to prepare. Later skewer up some Heavenly Villagio Marzano® tomatoes and veggies with the kids making grill time fun family time. Summer is the time to add sizzle to your salsa and perk up your tomato offerings with the juicy sweet flavor of Village Farms greenhouse grown tomatoes. We have plenty of easy to prepare plant forward recipes for you to throw on the grill throughout the whole summer season! These recipes boast delicious flavors that also pack in the nutrients that the whole family needs.

Bret Wiley, SVP of Sales and Sales Operations tells us Village Farms is shipping their signature varieties from all their greenhouse locations to meet demand for their sizzling summer retail programs. He tells us, “Product is looking really good and ready for our customer cross- promotional grilling displays, so come and get it while you can”

Try the Tomato Melon Skewers for a fun appetizer with the tantalizing flavor combinations. And the Stuffed Sensational Sara® Snacks have ‘stuffed’ in the name for a reason. You will not be able to stop stuffing them in your belly. Village Farms did not forget about the chillin’ either with Sweet & Savory Ice Pops that make a fast and fun treat.

Let’s get this party started with Village Farms exclusive varieties! And don’t forget to ask us about our point-of-sale programs, custom designed with your consumer in mind. Helen L. Aquino, Director of Brand Marketing & Communication says, “We have a plethora of images and POS opportunities for you to make your grilling season displays fun and family friendly”.

These fun recipes just might be the perfect meal to bring your friends and loved ones together for joyful celebrations that create memories for everyone. We’ve got something for everyone in mind with plant-based ideas and healthy dishes that still have us going for seconds, (and thirds let’s be honest, these recipes are that yummy!)

The Village Farms Greenhouse brand of tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers have come to be known for more than 30 years for their sustainable growing practices that are Good for the Earth®.  The company touts that it can grow more food on less land while preserving the planet’s precious natural resources such as water. We can farm in such a way that protects pollinators, reduces food waste, conserves soil, is less chemical intensive, and produces food that is nutritionally dense with the highest level of food safety. All with consistent quality available year-round!

These are just some of the benefits growing food in Controlled Environment Agriculture. Stay tuned for the scoop on the luscious new varietals to come from Village Farms that will put a pucker on your lips because they are loaded with your favorite yummy goodness!

For further information visit our Good for the Earth campaign or reach out directly at goodfortheearth@villagefarms.com about our Grillin’ & Chillin campaign.  And be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook!  We are Village Farms, and we know It Takes a Village® to make the world of fresh produce a better place to eat. 


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Grillin’ & Chillin’ This Summer!

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We’re so excited for the summer holidays coming up! We love summer days spent with family enjoying the fresh air outside. Nothing says outdoor get togethers like meals from the grill! Grilling and chilling is where it is at! We have plenty of easy recipes for you to throw on the grill during this holiday weekend and throughout the whole summer season! These recipes boast delicious flavors that also pack in the nutrients that the whole family needs.

These fun recipes just might be the perfect meal to bring your friends and loved ones together for joyful celebrations that create memories for everyone. We’ve also got something for everyone in mind with plant based ideas and healthy dishes that still have us going for seconds (and thirds let’s be honest, these recipes are that yummy!) Sip on Campari Watermelon Coolers while entertaining your buds in the backyard. Our Tomato Melon Skewers make for a fun appetizer with the tantalizing flavor combinations. Our Stuffed Sensational Sara Snacks have ‘stuffed’ in the name for a reason. You won’t be able to stop stuffing them in your belly they are so good! Filled with farro and the best cheese, you’ll have you force yourself to walk away from them! We didn’t forget about the chillin’ either! But honestly, who could forget our Sweet & Savory Ice Pops once you give them a try. Truly a life saver in the heat! These are just some of the yummy options we have for you!

So, what are you waiting for? Be known as the cool host you are once you dish out these easy breezy, healthy, grillin’ and chillin’ recipes!

Campari Watermelon Coolers

Make this alcoholic or ditch the alcohol and just enjoy the natural flavors of the renowned Sinfully Sweet Campari tomatoes, watermelon chunks, mint, and honey! We love how the sparkling water adds a little fun your cup! Mix this recipe up for you and your friends for a refreshed cocktail on hot summer days!

Tomato Melon Skewers

Get the best of everything with our Tomato Melon Skewers! Using our Maverick Mix tomatoes means you get a little bit of everything YUM! Have guests make their own so they get their favorite combinations, or add variety all on your own! Be creative! We can’t wait to see what you and family make together!

Stuffed Sensational Sara Snacks

Perfect for entertaining, these fun snacks stuff farro salad and caprese into our gorgeous Sensational Sara tomatoes! Not only are they cute, but they really pack the flavor! Popping them on the grill adds that smokey flavor that we all love from cook-outs!

Grilled Salmon with Lip Smackn’ Salsa

Blackened Grilled Salmon already has amazing flavor, but when you add the our Lip Smackn’ Grape tomato salsa, your taste buds will surely rejoice! Opting for a lean protein so you still have energy for all the outdoor activities you want to enjoy, this recipe is the perfect option for the eventful 4th of July weekend!

Grilled Portobello BLT “Pizzas”

This recipe will be a surprise to all! These unique pizzas are great for the vegetarians and vegans in your life! Honestly, with the flavor that the Heavenly Villagio Marzano leaves in your mouth, even the carnivores will be heading back for more of these little treats!

Sweet & Savory Ice Pops

Time for Chillin’! Four different flavors of ice pops means that everyone will be able to find one that they love! We love the idea of an ice pop after a long hot summer day. So which will it be? The Cherry No. 9 Fall in Love Again sweetness , Cabernet Estate Reserve wine-like flavor, Scrumptious Mini Cucumber, or the blissfully bright Lorabella Blossom popsicle? Let us know which one is your favorite!

So, there you have it! We know you’ll be the talk of town once they either smell or hear about what yumminess was coming from your backyard this holiday weekend! Enjoy and be sure to explore all of our recipes to find your next party dish! We have the best recipes all using Village Farms nutritious and flavorful tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers!


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Spice Up Your Summer

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Recipes and photography by My Diary of Us

Summertime means less time with the oven on and more time spent outside grilling.  That’s why I partnered with my friends at Village Farms to bring you two delicious and healthy summertime recipes featuring their tasty tomatoes.  I love combining smokey grilled flavors with fresh ingredients like delicious summer tomatoes.  Both of these recipes are going to be perfect for all of your backyard entertaining needs. After all, this summer it’s all about grillin’ and chillin’!  We have two new grilled recipes featuring Village Farms NEW Sensational Sara® tomatoes and their Lip Smackn’ Grape® tomatoes: Stuffed Sensational Sara Snacks and Grilled Salmon with Cajun Lip Smackn’ Salsa!  These healthy and easy to prepare recipes will add some spice to your Summer cooking!

If you have followed me for some time, you know that I go way back with Village Farms, and for good reason.  Their tomatoes are homegrown in Marfa, Texas and are some of the sweetest tomatoes around.  Next to growing you own tomatoes, there are none other that compare.  I love that I can always count on Village Farms to have the sweetest, perfectly ripe tomatoes year round, but especially in the summer when I use tomatoes in my recipes quite often.

Stuffed Sensational Sara Snacks

The first recipe that we are sharing is the Stuffed Sensational Sara Snacks.  This recipe is perfect as a side dish to a lean protein, easy appetizer for entertaining, or to serve up with a leafy green salad.  These gorgeous Sensational Sara® tomatoes are the perfect size for stuffing, and this caprese farro salad is so good inside.  It’s all of your favorite Caprese flavors packed into the cutest tomato package, and then grilled for a few minutes for a little smokey flavor that takes it to the next level.

Grilled Salmon with Lip Smackn’ Salsa

The second recipe we are sharing is the Grilled Salmon with Cajun Lip Smackn’ Salsa!  Blackened salmon gets grilled to perfection and then gets topped off with the most delicious Cajun salsa for some freshness and a little extra heat too.  I love the Lip Smackn’ Grape® tomatoes for this salsa because they are super sweet and hold up their texture in the salsa.  I add in corn, bell pepper, some Cajun spice, and lemon juice to really enhance the already delicious tomatoes.  You will not only be topping your fish with this salsa, but you will be whipping this recipe up for a quick dip that will sure to be a hit with your friends and family.  It’s just that good!

Can we say hello summer with these recipes?  They are both so good and you are going to love making them all season long!


Recipes and blog were created exclusively for Village Farms by  My Diary of Us

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Village Farms Supports Feeding America

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Village Farms is pleased to take part once again in the annual effort with Produce for Kids, and its valued retail partner Publix, in support of Feeding America.  Feeding America is the nation’s leading hunger-relief organization, that helps 1 in 7 Americans and provides 4.3 billion meals annually to those facing hunger or are food insecure.  The Healthy Family Project’s, Produce for Kids campaign will be providing 700,000 meals through 31 Feeding America Foodbanks within the Publix communities.  The campaign launched May 19, 2021 in Publix stores and online and will run over the next several weeks ending June 16.   Village Farms has been a proud sponsor of the Produce for Kids campaign for over a decade.

Village Farms signature tomato, Heavenly Villagio Marzano, a mini-San Marzano snacking tomato will be featured on Produce for Kids point of sale signage displayed in Publix stores as well as banners online announcing Village Farms as a sponsor.  Product signage will feature a recipe and QR code that shoppers can scan to download free E-Cookbook featuring Village Farms’ recipes for a Burrata & Tomato Hand Pies and a Skillet Chicken with Tomatoes and Green beans that both use the Heavenly Villagio Marzano tomato. The recipes will also be highlighted in social media posts to more than 300,000 followers.

New to the campaign this year on The Produce for Kids website is a showcase of the sustainability practices of each campaign sponsor. Village Farms is highlighting its Clean Energy initiative where landfill gas is used as energy for its greenhouses and creates clean air the citizens in the greater Vancouver, CA area. This powerful messaging creates a link for consumers to help them better understand how their personal food choices can impact not only giving back to the community but by supporting brands that protect or improve the overall environment and by doing so that they are doing good for our planet. 

Helen L. Aquino, Director Brand Marketing & Communication said, “We are happy to be able to support this great endeavor again this year with the Healthy Family Project during a real time of need in our country. Feeding America serves every community in the US, so their impact is tremendous. And Our Good for the Earth sustainability story is a wonderful platform for this message now, especially as more and more people are focused on plant-based diets and are looking to increase their intake of healthy fruits and vegetables”.

Click here for Press Release

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Spring into Summer

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Recipes and photography by Susan Spungen

After the winter season, it’s refreshing to have a wider variety of produce to choose from when shopping and planning menus. I have always loved vegetables, but my diet leans more and more towards being plant based all the time. We have a completely vegetarian meal at least once a week, and sometimes more, but vegetables are always on the menu. One of our go-to’s has been a grain bowl of some variety about once a week. It’s a great way to use up bits of vegetables that you may have in your fridge that are not quite enough for anything else. I created two new recipes in partnership with Village Farms to celebrate this season of plenty. Both recipes pack lots of fresh produce into one delicious bowl. Each is flexible enough that you can make swaps to incorporate something special you might find in your farmer’s market or supermarket.

Maverick Mix Grain Bowl

The first recipe is for Maverick Mix Grain Bowls with Grilled Tofu. I usually try to pack at least five different vegetables into my grain bowls and go for a mix of cooked and raw for the most flavor and nutrition. Choose a variety of colors not just for looks, but for the health benefits. By choosing different colors, you can be sure you are getting a wide variety of vitamins and nutrients. Instead of roasting the vegetables like I do in the winter, I grill some asparagus while I’m grilling the tofu. I also char some Village Farms Maverick Mix® tomatoes alongside the asparagus to make a tasty dressing for the bowls. Fresh Village Farms Maverick Mix tomatoes add freshness to the bowl as well as an antioxidant punch. Tomatoes two ways! Don’t feel hemmed in by the vegetables in the recipe- feel free to switch them up according to what you find or what you have. Go for the freshest and most seasonal items and you can’t go wrong!

You can use the protein of your choice in place of the grilled tofu. Try leftover grilled or roasted chicken, cooked or canned beans, or shrimp. When you light the grill to cook the tofu, you’ll be cooking the asparagus and charring the tomatoes at the same time, so make sure you have all those elements ready at once. A grill platter, which is a perforated metal sheet, comes in very handy here to cook the asparagus and the tomatoes for the dressing, which would otherwise fall through the grates.

Sweet Bell Pepper Slaw with Mango

The second recipe is for Sweet Bells® Pepper Slaw, which also has shredded Savoy cabbage (that’s the crinkly looking one you’ll find in your supermarket) but you can use regular cabbage (red or green) or even a couple bags of pre-shredded slaw mix instead. Mango adds sweetness, and the slaw is simply dressed with lime juice, rice wine vinegar, and oil. Nothing could be easier than a slaw, just toss everything together and you’re done! Serve as a side dish with grilled fish or chicken, or as a filling for fish tacos. Since serranos and jalapenos can vary so much in size, use less at first and add more as needed. Slicing them thinly will lessen their hot punch and allow them to integrate into the slaw better. Village Farms Sweet Bell Peppers not only add color (use two out of the three colors) but a healthy dose of vitamins A & C.


Recipes and blog were created exclusively for Village Farms by  Susan Spungen

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Healthy Spring Refresh

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Recipes and photography by Lunches + Littles

Spring is here, and summer is right around the corner, and when it comes to nicer weather- there are always a couple of things that we enjoy a bit more of…. sunshine, the outdoors, cookouts and smoothies! Yep, smoothies are a great way to pack in goodness all year long, but we always find ourselves making them more often during the warmer months.

Cucumbers are not only great tasting in summer salads and as part of veggies trays, etc. they are also perfect in smoothies. We are big fans of all things from Village Farms (like their incredible greenhouse grown tomato varieties and assorted bell peppers), and while they may be known more for their tomatoes, their cucumbers are just as incredible.

Fresh Cucumber Smoothie

And while cucumbers may not seem like the most obvious smoothie ingredient, but don’t knock it- until you try it! Cucumber adds a delicious flavor to smoothies, and is full of nutrients and water making whatever you are making even better. Recently we created these delicious Fresh Cucumber Smoothies which turned out so creamy and yummy, and are a great way to load up on nutrients, while beating the heat. Whether for a snack, breakfast or other mealtime addition, these smoothies are a family-friendly hit that we were so excited to work with Village Farms on.

For these Fresh Cucumber Smoothies, we used the cool and refreshing Luscious Seedless Long English® cucumbers from Village Farms. Did you know cucumbers are loaded with vitamin K and C, and are also an excellent source of potassium? Cucumbers boast all sorts of health benefits and are the perfect smoothie addition.

For these Fresh Cucumber Smoothies we blended up Luscious Seedless Long English cucumbers, fresh pineapple, banana (frozen works best!) and a bit of orange juice for a tasty, refreshing smoothie that screams Spring…. and Summer! And, if it’s a super hot day, throw a bit of ice into your blender before you blend for an icier version of this treat!

To make these smoothies this time, we used our new BlendJet blender, and were amazed at how easy it was to use. I was certain that I would have to get out a high-powered blender for the frozen banana (or ice if using), but the BlendJet blended it all up without any issue. And we have actually teamed up with Village Farms to giveaway a BlendJet 2.0 and more to one lucky winner- click here

And, for more healthy recipe ideas as well as family-friendly recipes be sure to check out our feed @lunchesandlittles where we share kid-approved meals, lunchbox inspo, family favorites and tasty treats! And, next time you head to your grocery store, be sure to pick up some Luscious Seedless Long English cucumbers from Village Farms, as well as some of their tomatoes and peppers. With grill season here, there are endless ways to use their produce for everything from Grilled Portobello BLT Pizza to Grilled Cioppinio Foil Packs!


Recipes and blog were created exclusively for Village Farms by Lunches + Littles​​​ ​​​​​​​

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Masters of Merchandising with Village Farms® Greenhouse Grown

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As Seen on The Produce Business

Power the Spontaneous

Compared to one year ago, we are more polished shoppers, making less trips to the grocery store, and spending more per trip. One thing is certain, we are shopping from a list while trying to get in and out of the store as fast as we can! This leaves little room for impulse buys or discovering new products. Activate the power of the spontaneous purchase with strong emotive imagery using POS signage.

Healthy snacking, immune boosting, mood lifting, all are themes for strong Point of Sale messaging that will motivate shoppers. Innovative and intriguing imagery will get the eating occasion ideas owing. Village Farms is here to help with this endeavor, with our full library of content for POS, as well as all your digital promotional needs.

Keep an Eye on the Trends

2021 is the year for fresh as consumers continue to set their sights on healthy and easy to prepare food choices. Trending is ‘celebrating food as an occasion’, especially with fresh produce.

And though consumers are moving more quickly through the store, they continue to crave inspiration as they shop.

Plant Based for the Win!

Fruits and vegetables are trending in 2021 as the focus on a ‘Plant Based Diet’ continues to evolve. Consumers are determined to purchase flavorful immune boosting tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers that are the primary staples for their plant-based food choices and the foundations of their meal planning. Focus Point of Sale on inclusivity of more plant-based content that will connect a more diverse community of consumers, while celebrating food heritage through nostalgic recipes and real-life stories.

Sensational Sara

The recently launched and new to the category lovely Sensational Sara® tomato is an exciting new addition to the tomato-on-the-vine varietal segment. Her deep red inside and study green vine make her really stand out. She is simply amazing, great as a slicer, handy for sandwiches or salads, and the best part is that she is a phenomenal cooking tomato.

Sensation Sara®is packaged in an innovative 1lb environmentally friendly box that is biodegradable and 100% recyclable. Ask us more about her availability!

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Village Farms New Crop and New Packaging Continues Good for the Earth Trend

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As seen on The Produce News

Village Farms reports their Spring greenhouse grown crop of tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers is looking fantastic in their northern most Canadian locations of British Columbia and Ontario. Currently planted are their exclusive specialty tomatoes, including Heavenly Villagio Marzano, Cabernet Estate Reserve, Cherry No 9, Maverick Mix, Lip Smackn’ Grape, Lorabella  Blossom and Mini Sensations, that will all begin to be harvested as soon as March. Sinfully Sweet Campari, Juicy Beefsteaks, Delectable TOV, Savory Roma, Exquisite Heirloom tomatoes, as well as, Sweet Bells peppers, Scrumptious Mini cucumbers, and Luscious Long English cucumbers will all be vine-ripened and ready to ship from these locations.​​​​

Village Farms’ sustainable growing methods in their environmentally friendly all glass climate controlled hydroponic greenhouses offer produce that is picked fresh daily to deliver to its dedicated retail partners, or as the company likes to tout, “From Our House to your Home” Village Farms Vice President & Regional Facility Manager at its Delta, BC greenhouse, Dirk de Jong, says that the crop is looking really healthy and happy.  And he contributes this to the weather being favorable with the right amount of sunny days.

Also available will be Village Farms’ newest variety Sensational Sara, which is going into its second season, and the company reports demand is strong.  Sensational Sara is a novel tomato variety with a stunning deep red color inside and out. With a juicy sweet flesh and vibrant red colored inside, Sensational Sara’s flavor is best described as a perfect natural balance of sugar to acid ratio.  This new tomato is bigger than a cocktail but smaller than a TOV, with an extremely sturdy deep green vine.  Village Farms is expecting Sensational Sara to be a ‘change agent’ in the tomato category, bringing more versatility to the TOV variety segment, long considered a commodity tomato.  According to Bret Wiley, Senior Vice President Sales and Sales Operations for Village Farms, “We are not surprised our newest tomato Sensational Sara has been a hit, the initial launch was strong with our retail partners offering the variety.  Consumer response has been positive, and people really like the unique flavor.  We are planning additional acreage and have key retailers already lined up for a full ramp up this Spring and Summer”. 

Sensational Sara is a versatile tomato, great as a slicer, handy for sandwiches or salads, and it is a phenomenal cooking tomato.  Roasting, grilling, sautéing or saucing brings out this tomato’s deep complex flavor.  And the company reports shelf-life for Sensational Sara is 21 days.

Just like all of Village Farms’ exclusive tomato varieties, Sensational Sara, is harvested by hand. This variety is picked and packed on-the-vine for maximum flavor and grows with 6 to 7 fruit per truss.  Sustainably grown in Village Farms’ lush indoor hydroponic glass greenhouse gardens, that are a controlled environment agricultural approach, which achieves unsurpassed quality and Garden Fresh Flavor.

Village Farms is offering Sensation Sara packaged in an innovative one-pound environmentally friendly box that is biodegradable and 100% recyclable. The company says sustainable packaging interest has been on the rise with retailers due to pressing consumer demand and there is increasing interest in the company’s offerings. Helen L. Aquino, Director of Brand Marketing & Communication for Village Farms says, “Sustainable packaging is the wave of future, but has its challenges from consistent supply to adapting operationally. We have tested numerous sustainable packaging types over the past few years. One of the best features about this new box is that it intuitively looks environmentally-friendly, has ample room for brand messaging, shows off the product well, and holds up to the rigors of the supply chain.”

Sustainability is something Village Farms has lived by and has always taken seriously during its 30-plus years in the business.  The company’s environmentally friendly growing methods are best summed up as ‘Good for the Earth’ can grow more food on less land while using less of earths precious resources, like water, and doing so much more efficiently environmentally.  To find out more about Village Farms and how the company grows, as well as having a look at their full line of product offerings, please visit www.villagefarms.com or follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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A Simple New Year’s Celebration

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Recipes and photography by Susan Spungen

Celebrations look a little different this year, so we may not be attending or hosting any big New Year’s Eve bashes (what a relief, right?), but that’s no reason not to be festive with your immediate others, or hey, even if it’s just you and Zoom! Maybe New Year’s Eve can just be drinks and nibbles, and just skip the dinner part. Haven’t we all been eating too much lately anyway? Here are two recipes that I created in partnership with Village Farms to help you celebrate what can only be a better New Year. Both of these recipes are fresh and festive, with a slightly tropical air. Though you may not be jumping on a plane to hit your favorite beach resort, these two recipes will transport you, full of the fresh flavors of cucumbers and tomatoes, with a special guest appearance by the gorgeous dragon fruit (also known as pitaya) in the form of its bright fuchsia-colored powder, which tastes as good as it looks.

Cucumber Dragon Fruit Margarita

The first recipe is for a Cucumber Dragon Fruit Margarita, which is simple to mix up, but dazzling! This is a fruity drink that is not too sweet, but you can add more simple syrup to taste if you want. To make simple syrup, just combine equal parts sugar and water and boil until the sugar dissolves. Let cool before using. You can keep it in a glass jar in the fridge for a long time so you can always be ready to conjure up a refreshing drink. Luscious Seedless Long English® cucumber is used both in a puree that is shaken up in the cocktail, and as an edible garnish (and stirrer!). Using the cucumber puree in the drink lightens it up a little so it isn’t quite as strong as a normal margarita, and gives it a fresh, vegetal flavor too.

Cabernet Stuffed with Avocado Crema

The second recipe is a perfect little bite for any time of year, since Cabernet Estate Reserve® tomatoes are responsibly greenhouse grown. They are juicy and flavorful all year round, so enjoy some summery freshness for a change of pace, and as a tasty companion for your Dragon Fruit Margarita. I love their brown-ish color and sweet ripe flavor. A very tasty and as-spicy-as-you-want-it-to-be avocado crema is piped inside for a fresh but creamy bite. A little mini tortilla chip tucked into the filling provides a tasty crunch. Serve the rest of the chips on the side!


Recipes and blog were created exclusively for Village Farms by  Susan Spungen

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Home for the Holiday Activities

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Recipes and photography by Lunches + Littles

Christmas week is here (can you believe it?), and between last minute shopping, baking, wrapping, and more, we are also finding family-friendly things to do with our little ones and fun platters and sides to share with close family this holiday.

Now, on most holidays we travel, but this year we are doing things just a little differently because of all of the craziness that is 2020. We know that for so many people this year, holidays are looking very different too, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy delicious food and fun treats with loved ones. And that is why we are so excited to partner up with Village Farms this week, and share two simple, no-bake recipes, that are sure to delight your taste-buds- and your little ones!

First up we have our Easy Antipasto Wreath featuring the Maverick Mix® Tomatoes from Village Farms. This wreath combines tomatoes, salami slices, olives, peppers, fresh mozzarella cheese balls, basil leaves- and more. It’s the perfect appetizer platter, full of color and super simple to put together, yet still very impressive looking.

Our Easy Antipasto Wreath gets some added pops of color thanks to the mix of 4 to 6 different flavorful varieties that are found in each container of Maverick Mix® Tomatoes. Red, orange, yellow, green, and brown- there’s always a rainbow mix as well as sweet and intense flavor you will love.

This variety from Village Farms is one of our favs and as a bonus, our kids love them too. The Maverick Mix® Tomatoes are perfect for adding to salads, using to top pizzas, enjoying straight out of the package and so much more. These tomatoes are also rich in lycopene, and full of other nutrients and antioxidants. You will absolutely love this mix in this recipe.

For our Easy Antipasto Wreath simply gather your ingredients (prepping them prior as needed), and line up little bowls/containers so you have everything ready to go. Then, simply thread different ingredients on skewers, as shown. This is also a great one to get your little ones in on. Depending on their ages, little ones can help thread skewers or hand you items to add to the ones you are making.​​

And a little pro-tip: Not every skewer needs everything… mix and match, using different combos on different skewers. Keep some skewers meat and cheese free, for those that may not want to or be able to eat those items.

Once you have all your ingredients threaded on skewers, simply arrange them on a circular plate as shown adding pops of rosemary for added visual interest and voila! Get the full instructions below.

Easy Antipasto Wreath

Next up, we have something totally different for you. Are you ready to take a little trip back to childhood? Okay. Let’s go!

Rock candy is something that is not just sweet- it usually has some sweet memories attached to it too. Often found at fun vacation spots, carnivals, amusement parks, candy stores, and more- this treat is one that we had not had in years. But last week, we got to work making it with our little ones and not only did it bring back sweet memories- we also made some new sweet ones too!

Now, you may be wondering…how does rock candy tie in with the Village Farms brand? Well, that’s a fair question. To answer it, let’s talk about the ingredients that are typically found in rock candy- sugar and water. Yep, that is it (seriously!). Now, of course you can always add different flavorings and food colorings as desired, but can make it with simply sugar and water alone too. Who knew, right? For this version, we subbed fresh cucumber water, from Village Farms’ Luscious Seedless Long English® cucumber variety in place of the water. Not only did this add a bit of flavor and color, but it also added in a bit of nutrients too.

And, that brings us to another question, did you know that Village Farms doesn’t just grow tomatoes? In addition to their delicious greenhouse grown tomato varieties, they also grow mini cucumbers, long English cucumbers, as well as a variety of sweet bell peppers!

Now back to the rock candy….Blending and straining the cucumber juice was a great little activity to do with our kids, as was the melting of the sugar and of course- the growing of the rock crystals on the sticks. We loved doing this fun activity with our kids last week, and think it would be a great one for you to do with them Christmas week!

Cucumber Peppermint Rock Candy

Making our Cucumber Peppermint Rock Candy was a combination of blending, a bit of science and some patience. That is all it took for us to transform a couple of simple ingredients to homemade nostalgic rock candy sticks with a cucumber twist! See some of the sneak peeks below, as well as the instructions to make this fun treat- perfect for kids, or us kids at heart!


Recipes and blog were created exclusively for Village Farms by Lunches + Littles​​​ ​​​​​​​

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Sensational Sara Shocks the Tomato World with Hypnotic Beauty, True Flavor, & Sublime Versatility

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Village Farms is pleased to introduce its newest exclusive tomato variety, Sensational Sara®. The question begs asking, who is Sara and why is she sensational? Sensational Sara® is a novel tomato variety with a stunning deep red color inside and out. One slice through her juicy sweet flesh reveals her vibrant color that is simply mesmerizing. Her flavor is best described as a perfect natural balance of sugar to acid ratio. She’s bigger than a cocktail but smaller than a TOV with a super-hero sturdy vibrant green vine. Village Farms vaunts that one could think of her as the love child of their Delectable TOV® and Sinfully Sweet Campari® varieties.

Sensational Sara®, just like all of Village Farms’ exclusive tomato varieties, is harvested by hand. This variety is picked and packed on-the-vine for maximum flavor and grows with 6 to 7 fruit per truss. Sustainably grown in Village Farms’ lush indoor hydroponic glass greenhouse gardens, a controlled environment agricultural approach that achieves unsurpassed quality and Garden Fresh Flavor®.

She’s is super versatile as a great slicer, and handy for sandwiches or salads, but the best part is that she is a phenomenal cooking tomato. Try roasting, grilling, sautéing or saucing her to experience her deep complex flavor. Her pure flavor is best experienced when roasted, grilled, or sautéed. Shelf-life for Sensational Sara® is a whopping 21 days.

According to Debi Street, VP of Variety Development & Innovation, who searches the world over for exclusive and unique varietals for Village Farms, “I am flattered that the seed companies I have established great relationships with over the years invite me to peak into their secret gardens where literally the seeds of innovation are blossoming. When I first saw Sensational Sara I was stunned by her beautiful red color and juicy sweet flavor. Her taste profile, versatility, and shelf life are all a win-win and total game changer for our retail partners with this consumer-centric driven tomato.”

Sensational Sara® is packed in a 1lb recyclable, compostable, and biodegradable container with 8 units to the case. Another reason why Village Farms’ is Good for the Earth®.

For more information on Sensation Sara® and how Village Farms is driving great flavor from its unique and exclusive varieties such as Heavenly Villagio Marzano®, the one, the only, and the original authentic mini San Marzano tomato and our new environmentally friendly sustainable packaging options come visit us at New York Produce Show online.  You can also explore our website for fun facts about who we are and why it Takes a Village® to make the world of fruits and vegetables a better place to eat, along with lots of delicious recipe ideas.

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Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Deliciously Transformed

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Recipes and photography by Lunches + Littles

This year, for likely all of us, things have looked very, very different. The way we work, the ways we shop, the ways in which kids get their education, even the ways in which we travel and see our beloved family and friends- it has all changed. And this year, our holidays may look quite a bit different too. I know ours will….

For a lot of us, including our own family, we have family members and close friends that live out of state, and traveling right now or having larger gatherings together simply may not be possible. With all of these changes, many of us may find ourselves celebrating the holidays in untraditional ways this year- or at the very least gathering with less people around the table. But, one thing that remains the same is that most of us will still be celebrating, and there is one staple that will likely find its way to the middle of the table no matter where or who you gather with. Yep, we are talking about the turkey.

Now, we love juicy, tender turkey meat on Thanksgiving with all the fixings, but we all know it doesn’t need to stop there. And while most of us are probably used to eating lots of turkey sandwiches as leftovers in the days following the big feast, this year we are taking leftovers to the next level with a couple of delicious recipes that feature the star of your Thanksgiving meal, in two totally different ways.

Turkey Fajitas with Homemade Salsa Fresca

First up we have our Turkey Fajitas with Homemade Salsa Fresca. For this dish, we take leftover turkey, marinate it up with a homemade spicy marinade- made with cumin, garlic, and adobo sauce. Cook it all up and serve the seasoned turkey alongside delicious, fresh tri-colored sautéed peppers- and more. It’s a tasty twist on traditional fajitas, and they are oh so good. And the salsa fresca- that’s fresh too. For this delicious fajita topping, we use the maverick mix® tomatoes from Village Farms. If you are not familiar, this medley of tomatoes contains four to six different, flavorful varieties- like cherry and grape tomatoes, each one with a distinct shape and flavor. Red, orange, yellow, green, and brown- the maverick mix® medley boasts a rainbow of color with a sweet and intense flavor profile. Perfect in so many dishes, this mix was a delicious choice for this recipe.​​​​​

And, while most of you probably know that Village Farms grows a wide variety of delicious greenhouse grown tomatoes. Did you know they also grow delicious bell peppers and cucumbers too? Over the last year as we have been adding more and more fruits and vegetables to our dishes (yes, even more than normal!), we have been using a lot more of their peppers and cucumbers too, and Village Farms makes doing so very easy. Their sweet bells® peppers work perfectly in this fajita recipe and also add the perfect pops of color, which we love!

Tomato Basil Turkey Soup

Another delicious way to elevate your leftovers is our Tomato Basil Turkey Soup. This recipe is amazing and surprisingly quick to pull together, which is great because post-holiday, you are going to want to rest a bit (or shop!), am I right? This soup is packed with flavor, made using delicious heavenly villagio marzano® tomatoes from Village Farms. These mini San Marzano tomatoes pack in so much flavor and are perfect for soups and sauces. We love using them in homemade tomato sauce for spaghetti, though they are also incredible as is- we all love eating them straight out of the container as sides, or even snacks.

Our Tomato Basil Turkey Soup is hearty enough for a full-on meal, thanks to the turkey addition. And while it kind of brings us back to our younger days of grilled cheese and tomato soup- this soup definitely doesn’t taste canned. No, this one is full of fresh flavor in every bite. Roasted heavenly villagio marzano® tomatoes are not only blended right into the soup base, they are also added in roasted for extra bursts of flavor all throughout. You have to make it to truly get it. And when you do- you won’t be disappointed!

When it comes to the holidays, yes- this year may look a lot different, but we hope that no matter who you spend it with, or how you choose to celebrate, you have a beautiful time, full of love, gratitude and of course-good eats. And, if you find yourself with some leftover turkey meat, we hope that you will give either- or both, our Turkey Fajitas with Homemade Salsa Fresca or our Tomato Basil Turkey Soup recipes a try.

For more recipes to take you through the holidays- and beyond, be sure to follow us over on our feed, @lunchesandlittles. ​​​​​Happy Thanksgiving from our family- to yours!​


Recipes and blog were created exclusively for Village Farms by Lunches + Littles​​​ ​​​​​​​

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Back to School Made Easy

Back to School Made Easy
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Recipes and photography by Lunches + Littles

This year, August looks a lot different for most of us. There’s been a lot of new expectations, big decisions and SO many changes. But one thing that remains the same is that we all still need to eat. So, whether your kids are heading back to school for in-person instruction, doing virtual learning at home, or even full on homeschooling, you are likely going to be packing and/or making lunches. And that’s why we are so excited to have partnered back up with Village Farms to share some quick, doable, kid-friendly recipes that are perfect for both packed lunch boxes and lunches at home.

And, if you don’t have kids- don’t pass this one by. Because easy, yummy food isn’t just for kids! These recipes would certainly work and be great for adults too- packed up to go for a work lunch, or to enjoy at a lunch or dinner table at home. So, read on!

First up, we have our Burrata and Tomato Hand Pies. For these, we used the Heavenly Villagio Marzano® tomatoes from Village Farms which are one of our all-time favorite varieties. These little tomatoes are incredibly sweet and perfect for all sorts of cooking; one of our favorite ways to use them is in a sweet sauce for spaghetti, but they are so versatile! For our hand pies they add just the right amount of sweetness and are also a great size for the recipe as well.

Rich in vitamins A and K, these mini San Marzano tomatoes are as healthy as they are delicious! For our Burrata and Tomato Hand Pies we combined these little gems with bits of fresh burrata cheese and basil, cooked in a thin, flakey crust. We cut our pies circular, though you could certainly cut them in rectangles, etc. No matter how you cut them, they’re perfect for lunchboxes, meals at home- or even some entertaining. And perhaps the best part is that you can easily prep them ahead of time or even bake them ahead of time and simply re-heat.​​

Burrata and Tomato Hand Pies

The second recipe is our Easy Rainbow Spring Rolls, and this is a recipe we have been so excited to share. If you follow us over on our feed, @lunchesandlittles, you know that we love color and these rolls really pack the rainbow!

Something you may not know about Village Farms is that they grow more than just tomatoes. While delicious tomatoes are a big part of what they produce, they also grow peppers and cucumbers and for our Easy Rainbow Spring Rolls recipe we were able to incorporate both their Sweet Bells® (red, yellow and orange peppers) as well as their Scrumptious Mini® cucumbers.

Rainbow Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce

Quick little fact: cucumbers are made mostly of water and therefore are a great way to rehydrate your body. They are also perfect for replenishing nutrients. So, we were all about including these in our Easy Rainbow Spring Rolls.

These rolls were so fun to make, and they look so impressive, don’t they? You would probably think that these took a while to make, but actually they just take minutes. Yes, minutes! The most time-consuming part of the whole recipe is prepping the ingredients. Then you just fill, roll, and serve! These are perfect for a fun and colorful lunch box, or on a plate at home.​

No matter what your plans are for the Fall, we know that you have enough to worry about besides what you’re going to pack up for lunch or serve at home to your kids. So give these fun recipes a try. They are a great way to get kids more comfortable with eating a variety of produce- and they aren’t too hard to make up either.


Enter in Our Back to School Giveaway!

Our Back to School Giveaway will be hosted by Lunches + Littles via Instagram. The giveaway will take place for one week – Thursday August 28th through Thursday September 4th, 2020. Click here to learn how to enter for a chance to win one of 3 awesome prizes!


Recipes and blog were created exclusively for Village Farms by Lunches + Littles​​​ ​​​​​​​

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10 Simple Summer Side Dishes

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Summer is in full swing, which means a ton of grillin’ and chillin’. And we are here to help you in your relaxation endeavors that’s why we have created 10 simple summer side dishes all featuring the delectable flavors of Village Farms Greenhouse Grown tomatoes and cucumbers. Not only are these flavorful dishes packed full of healthy immune boosting properties, but they are easy-peasy to prepare, making it effortless to get those essential vitamins and nutrients into you and your family’s diet!

We have selected a sweet mix of fresh and cooked recipes so there’s something for every flavor palate sure to please the most fickle of your friends and family. Try our Tomacado Salad or Crisp Cucumber melon salad (but only if you can say either name ten times fast) to have everyone asking for more. Or the oh so zingy and sweet Caprese salad with grilled peaches or the tomato melon skewers for a neat take on a classical fav. These are just a few of the 10 simple summer dishes we have ready to not only tempt but empower your chef within.

These fresh dishes are also terrific for those on-the-go activities, whether it’s time spent at the beach, camping with the fam, or last minute invites to patio potlucks, we got you covered. The fancy Farro Salad with toasted Pine Nuts and roasted tomatoes works wonders for a quick and easy on dish-on-the-go.  And we love the savory flavors of the beefsteak tomato salad with crispy chickpeas and lemon tahini to wow your next picnic party. Psst… Be forewarned if you make the white bean arugula bruschetta you might just want to keep it all to yourself because it is that yummy!

And if you’re looking to fire up your home meal prep game we have tasty recipes, ready to sizzle on the grill or even quick pan to plate stove top solutions. Hello grilled Portobello BLT pizza for snazzy side dish or appy. And the summer veggie pasta salad or the spicy Asian cucumber noodle salad is a win-win for most ease of prep and highest delivery on flavor. Glad summer is going to be around for a while because there still is plenty of time to try all these fabulous side dishes!

What are you waiting for? Give it a whirl! Now it the time to get more fresh, easy to prepare, healthy and immune boosting dishes into your meal time so you can have more chill and relax time!

1. Farro Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts and Roasted Tomatoes

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Fresh greens, farro, roasted tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, crumbled feta cheese a homemade lemon vinaigrette- and more, all come together in harmony to create tantalizing flavor. The Maverick Mix® tomatoes in this recipe are totally the star of the dish.


2. Beefsteak Tomato Salad with Crispy Chickpeas and Lemon Tahini

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This Juicy Beefsteak® tomato salad with crispy chickpeas and lemon tahini is a party for your taste buds. The zingy flesh provides the perfect canvas for the spiced crispy chickpeas and the earthy lemon tahini sauce. This salad is effortless to prepare and full of nutrients.


3. Tomacado Summer Salad

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This Grilled Corn, Tomato & Avocado salad with hemp seeds screams everything summer and is filled with refreshing flavors. The sweetness of the Maverick Mix® tomatoes and creaminess of the avocado create a luscious burst of mouthwatering goodness.


4. Caprese Salad with Grilled Peaches

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There is just something magical when you bring together such beautifully fresh ingredients to complement one another. Sinfully Sweet Campari® tomatoes are an ideal choice for this iconic salad because they are the perfect combination of sweetness and acidity. Their vibrant red exterior and ideal size help to make this salad a piece of delicious art.


5. Spicy Asian Cucumber Noodle Salad

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Spicy Asian Cucumber Noodle Salad that is the perfect side dish to bring to potlucks, or to serve up any of the night with some grilled chicken thighs or seafood! Luscious Seedless Long English® Cucumbers make the crispest cucumber noodles, which are so fun for this salad!


6. Grilled Portobello BLT “Pizzas”

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Think outside the crust and swap your pizza dough for large Portobello mushroom caps as the base for these grilled mini BLT pizzas featuring our Heavenly Villagio Marzano® tomatoes. Take one bite and only one word will come to mind, phenomenal. You can even leave the pancetta off for an adaptable vegetarian dish.


7. Tomato Melon Skewers

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This no-cook skewer recipe highlights the best summer ingredients like melons, Maverick Mix® tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, prosciutto and balsamic. If your party guests are more creative, you could even leave your ingredients as a DIY bar for them!


8. Crisp Cucumber Melon Salad

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Crisp and refreshing is the name of this game. Our Luscious Seedless Long English® Cucumber Melon Salad is made up of the best sweet and savory ingredients like fresh melon, feta and arugula. Try this combo and your taste-buds will be thanking you!


9.  White Bean Arugula Bruschetta

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Bruschetta is a super fun dish because it allows for such creativity. It’s a blank canvas awaiting your favorite ingredients! Sinfully Sweet Campari® tomatoes are the perfect size for a chunky mixture to top a bite size appetizer. The final touch? A drizzle of balsamic vinegar for a strong, sweet-tart finisher.


10. Summer Veggie Pasta Salad

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Fresh, summer ingredients that are juicy, sweet, and scream summer. Alongside our Maverick Mix® tomatoes we’re also adding some sweet summer corn and a refreshing lemon basil dressing that is out. of. this. world. A really simple, easy, and nutrient-dense dish that you can feel really good about.


To explore more delicious and exclusive recipes using Village Farms flavorful tomato, cucumber and peppers click here!

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7 Dishes, 7 Days, 1 Tomato

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A little Meal Planning Love in the time of Quarantine

There’s no doubt these days we are all looking to get the most out of our trips to the grocery store. And what better way to do this then with some smart meal planning with simple, healthy, easy to prepare recipes. You know the old saying, “I hate when I go to the kitchen for food and all I find are ingredients”. Well we have taken the stress out of cooking and shopping with these seven dishes, for seven days using our famous Heavenly Villagio Marzano tomato. This tomato is the one, the only, the original & authentic Mini San Marzano variety. The great thing about Heavenly Villagio Marzano is that it’s suitable for dishes that you can enjoy any time of the day because it is so versatile. You can grill it, roast it, saute’ it, and of course eat them fresh, just leave a bowl on your counter for handy and healthy snacking. This is your go to tomato for fabulous dishes that will earn you the new title of Top Chef in your household plus we have taken the time to plan all of these dishes while shopping on a budget.

The great thing about meal planning using our Seven Dishes, Seven Days, One Tomato is that it’s a quick and easy solution to figuring out what to make and serve now that you and your loved ones are all home for 3 square meals a day. We have put together the whole shopping list for you with all the ingredients you’ll need to create seven healthy and hearty dishes. So whether you are making your weekly trip to the store or ordering online you have everything you need in one list. And the best part is when you look this list over you may discover that you already have a fair amount of these items on hand in your kitchen already.

Fabulosity let’s get started! Hey parents with kids many of these recipes are super easy and fun for the whole family to get in on the act of cooking together. From the novice to the professional you will see the easy to prepare recipes can happen rather effortlessly. We have put together a recipe collection to plan two breakfast, two lunches, two dinners, and one snack.

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We have two easy breakfast choices for you. First up are our Savory Tomato Infused Waffles. These roasted tomato waffles topped with a fried egg and bacon are a hit with both savory and sweet breakfast eaters alike. If you like things a little sweeter, drizzle a little syrup on top. If you like things a little more savory, skip the syrup altogether! Now what makes these waffles so special is that there are roasted tomatoes (and diced fresh ones) mixed directly in the batter.

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Next we have a splendid Roasted Tomato and Shaved Asparagus Frittata. This frittata is one of our favorite ways to make a simple breakfast or better yet brunch. Thinking ahead this frittata is lovely for spring family gatherings, like an Easter brunch or

Mother’s Day brunch. And, if you are feeling it you can even serve this dish as a simple dinner, alongside fresh bread and a salad!

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For lunch we are going full on plant based with a Tomato and Chickpea Fattoush Nourish Bowl. Do not be intimidated by the name it is easy peezy to prepare. Fattoush is a Lebanese salad that’s a mix of herbs, cucumber, tomatoes, and crispy pita pieces, brightened with the flavor of sumac, a traditional spice. This recipe is a nourish bowl inspired by the concept of fattoush; we’ve added spiced chickpeas to make it more filling. It is delicious and healthy.

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Our other lunch option is for an Italian Sausage, Tomato, Tortellini Soup. I love the creamy, slightly tomato flavor of the soup broth made with real, whole ingredients. The water and bone broth can be substituted for typical soup broth. It’s the milk and butter that create the perfect creamy base mixed with the sweetness of sautéed Heavenly Villagio Marzano® tomatoes.

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It’s snack time! Finally! What we all have been waiting for and what better than a Quick & Easy Roasted Tomato Hummus. I like to call it yummish because it is really that good. I promise it will be a huge hit with the whole family – the tomatoes add such a great flavor to a basic hummus recipe and we top it all off with fresh thyme and shaved parmesan cheese; perfect for pairing with veggies that your persnickety eaters may not readily partake in on their own for a total plant-based win.

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Dinner time brings two options for savory favorites. First up is a Skillet Chicken with Tomatoes & Green Beans. Enough said! A flavorful dish that is easy to prepare in with only 10 minutes of preparation and 30 minutes to cook. Dust off that cast iron pan and make it happen.

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This is a fun spin on a simple pasta dish. Individual Baked Spaghetti’s. If ever there was a fun way to engage the kids this is it. You can customize your dish, more sauce, less sauce, more cheese, less cheese anything goes!

All of these dishes take under 40 minutes including prep and cook times. That means more time eating! I do hope you enjoy these 7 Dishes, 7 Days, 1 Tomato using our exclusive Heavenly Villagio Marzano tomato. Let us know which is your favorite.

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Finding Comfort in Family and Food

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Recipes and photography by  Hetty McKinnon

To say that this year has been the most extraordinary of our lives would be a flagrant understatement. However, to scramble the famous words of Charles Dickens, during these worst of times, there has also been the best of times. As we navigate life in isolation, we have learnt to appreciate the small things – waking up naturally each morning without having to rush three children out the door, making dumplings with friends via a group video chat, and sitting down for lunch every day with my kids. Home is, now more than ever, our buttress, a cocoon from the chaos of the world outside.

As days bleed into one another and time blurs, my one constant has been family and food. While cooking all day is not that far from my normal day-to-day as a recipe developer and food writer, the way I cook right now is very different. Today, as our pantry takes center stage and creativity and flexibility become key tenets of everyday cooking, there is a sense of fearlessness in the kitchen. If a recipe calls for cauliflower, substituting with tofu doesn’t feel like a stretch at all; making lasagna with tortillas is perfectly acceptable, and leftover odds and ends of homemade bread are not wasted, but are rather transformed into a hearty soup. In many ways, the way we are cooking right now harks back to the time of our grandmothers when frugality and practicality were always front of mind. Back then, much like now, recipes revolved around pantry staples and making the most out of everyday ingredients.

So, while this time in isolation has been unsettling, I have found myself feeling incredibly nostalgic about the food I ate as a child. I grew up in a traditional Cantonese household where my mother cooked big flavored savory dishes using scant ingredients, and my father brought home bright produce from the local markets every day, where he worked. Along with mangoes, peaches, plums and all the fruits and vegetables imaginable, we also feasted on the plumpest, juiciest beefsteak tomatoes. I would each them whole, taking a voracious bite straight into them as one would eat an apple. Recently, I was reminded of this treasured childhood food memory when I tried a Juicy Beefsteak® tomato from Village Farms – at first bite, as the tomato juice slid down my chin and arm, I was instantly transported back to my mother’s kitchen.

The joy of beefsteak tomatoes is their simplicity. They are brimming with flavor, and achingly juicy, perfect for creating effortless meals that allow the zesty hum of tomatoes to shine.

Often fresh tomatoes may benefit from some salting to bring out flavor and juice, but with Village Farms beefsteaks, this is not necessary. These tomatoes are firm, juicy and bold, perfect for slicing and using in laid-back salads. This beefsteak tomato salad with crispy chickpeas and lemon tahini is a party for your taste buds. The zingy flesh provides the perfect canvas for the spiced crispy chickpeas and the earthy lemon tahini sauce. This salad is effortless to prepare but big on flavor, a quick meal which is also full of nutrients.

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While fresh tomatoes exemplify casual laid-back fare, roasted stuffed tomatoes encapsulate rustic charm. Gemista (or yemista) is a Greek dish of stuffed vegetables; tomatoes and peppers are most common, but you could also use eggplant, zucchini, and even onions. While I adore gemista, I rarely make it at home. For me, it’s a dish to enjoy when I eat out. However, these long days in isolation have given me a new appreciation for dishes that I wouldn’t normally cook.  In many ways, this is the perfect isolation recipe – there are a few steps, but they are all simple and all of the ingredients are either pantry staples or easily adaptable.

Here, I’m stuffing my succulent Village Farms Juicy Beefsteak® tomatoes and Sweet Bells® peppers with an herby feta rice, but you could also use this as an opportunity to use up any leftover vegetables in your fridge – zucchini, carrots, or eggplant would be nice additions to the rice filling. Juicy tomatoes with a firm flesh are key for this dish, as the flesh, seeds and juices of the tomatoes are all used to flavor the rice, while the vegetables cook in a fresh tomato puree. I love to add peppers to the mix as they make substantial and sturdy vessels for the rice, while retaining their beautiful floral shape when baked. Village Farms sweet bells peppers are wonderfully sweet (as its name suggests!) and when roasted, they provide a lovely mellow fruitfulness which perfectly complements the tangy tomatoes.

Peppers are such a great everyday food in our home – my kids love to consume them raw, dipped into hummus as a snack, while roasted peppers drizzled with vinegar is one of my favorite things to add to hearty grain salad. Even though this gemista is roasted, this dish effortlessly embodies the liveliness of summer produce, a perfect meal to celebrate flavor-bursting produce during these long, languid days.

Recipes and blog were created exclusively for Village Farms by Hetty McKinnon

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Nostalgic, Easy Recipes from Our Kitchen to Yours

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Recipes and photography by  Lunches + Littles

It is now officially Spring, a time when we all want more easy, delicious, and lighter dishes. Of course, right now we are also in the midst of unprecedented times- putting easier dishes even higher on the priority list for most of us.

A couple months ago we first started brainstorming recipes we could make this Spring, in partnership with Village Farms that were both easy to prep, as well as nostalgic in nature. They say nostalgia can drown out anything, and I would have to say there is truth in that, especially when it comes to food. And right now we need that truth more than ever.

Back when we were recipe testing and planning this set of recipes, we knew we wanted to create at least one dish that could easily go from dinner table to weekly lunch prep, without a second thought so we landed on a tasty Caprese Chicken. Now we know that the majority of us are no longer packing up lunches to take into work on a daily basis, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still meal prep lunches for the weeks ahead. In fact, in our home- continuing to prep just like we have during more normal work weeks has helped us keep some normalcy in an otherwise abnormal time. And, if lunch prep isn’t your thing, this recipe is still a great one for dinner.

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Our Easy Caprese Chicken can easily be dressed up or dressed down if you will, for the fancier dinner plate, or the everyday packed lunch. It’s juicy, flavorful and as the name says- easy! Pair it with some broccoli or other greens and you have a delicious meal- perfect for weekdays, the weekend or a sit down dinner. And if you have little ones, you could also try pairing this chicken with a side of pasta (something most little ones will easily eat up). No matter how you serve it- our Easy Caprese Chicken is recipe perfection- as is the balsamic glaze, which you could use on so many things beyond just this recipe.

Growing up my Mom always used to make a delicious Caprese Chicken dish. While hers was different, the taste still takes me back and instantly gets me remembering younger days, meals around the table, and most of all the love that filled our dining room. Giada De Laurentiis has been quoted as saying “Food brings people together on many different levels. It’s nourishment of the soul and body; it’s truly love,” and we couldn’t agree more.

The use of the Sinfully Sweet Campari® Tomatoes from Village Farms really heighten the flavor of this dish too. These tomatoes are so sweet and perfect in so many dishes- we especially love them paired with anything featuring Mozzarella. Village Farm’s Sinfully Sweet Campari® Tomatoes are a low-calorie delicious source of Vitamins C and K, which also help to support brain health and strengthen bones. Now that is YUM- with benefits!

Easy Caprese Chicken RECIPE

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Next up, we have a salad that is honestly so much more flavorful than we even expected it to be, when we were planning for it. Our Farro Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts and Roasted Tomatoes isn’t just delicious, and beautiful to look at- it features tomatoes in one of the sweetest ways.

Now we know that salads can often get a bad rap, but truth is they can truly be sooo good- and good for you. And this recipe really combines the best of the best when it comes to flavors. This is another one that is great for lunch or dinner. And bonus- in a large bowl or spread out on a platter it is also a beautiful dish to place in the center of your table, whether or not you can have guests over. Truth is, beautifully presented food just tastes better, doesn’t it? And we all deserve a bit of beauty at the table.

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Back when our kids were a few years younger and we started giving them tomatoes to taste, two (out of three) of them just didn’t care for tomatoes, which was a bit tough since we love them- and regularly include them in our recipes. One of the ways that we first got our little ones to change their minds was to offer up tomatoes that had been roasted (versus raw). They didn’t just tolerate or like roasted tomatoes- they ate them up like candy, and we have to say- roasted is one of our favorite ways to enjoy tomatoes too!

Our Farro Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts and Roasted Tomatoes takes a bit of time to come together (due to the roasting), but it is still very simple. While the tomatoes roast, you can prep all of the other ingredients and then you just combine it all together and voila- dinner (or lunch) is served.

Fresh greens, farro, roasted tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, crumbled feta cheese a homemade lemon vinaigrette- and more, all come together in our Farro Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts and Roasted Tomatoes. The Maverick Mix® Tomatoes from Village Farms featured in this recipe are the total star of the dish. These little beauties come together in a fun, multi-colored pack containing 4- 6 different flavorful, plump varieties with colors ranging from red, orange, yellow, green, and brown, and while they are a-mazing straight out of the container, they are next level when they are roasted.

Farro Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts and Roasted Tomatoes RECIPE

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Village Farm’s Maverick Mix® Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, and full of other essential nutrients and antioxidants, and our Farro Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts and Roasted Tomatoes featuring these are a must-make. It’s feel good food that checks all the boxes and is incredibly nourishing.

We hope that you will give one or both of these easy recipes a try. With many of us now home full-time, with lots of extra time on our hands, there really is no time like the present to try new things in the kitchen. Our Easy Caprese Chicken and Farro Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts and Roasted Tomatoes are both delicious and easy recipes highlighting one of our favorite brands; Village Farms. Which one will you make first?

Recipes and blog were created exclusively for Village Farms by  Lunches + Littles

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Unfussy Holidays

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Recipes and photography by  Susan Spungen

I do a lot of hosting this time of year, and often have people over at “off times” since everyone is already so busy with family get-togethers and parties. I like asking people to stop by for a cocktail in the evening before heading out to another event, or to come over for brunch or a simple lunch since I’m more likely to get a “yes” than a “no”, plus it’s an easier way to host, and still get to see friends which is the whole point, isn’t it?. These two recipes, created in partnership with Village Farms, fulfill those needs beautifully. Both recipes are fresh, easy and definitely crowd-pleasing, full of the bright flavors of delightfully sweet and juicy tomatoes. True to my “get-ahead” philosophy for hosting, both dishes can be prepared for cooking ahead of time, leaving just a last-minute finishing in the oven or on the stovetop for perfect timing that will leave you free to mingle and relax.

Tomato and Mozzarella Dip

The first recipe is a very quick to put together Cheesy Tomato Dip made with Heavenly Villagio Marzano® tomatoes, which are plump and juicy with a cute pear shape, true to their San Marzano heritage, but in a mini size. Like its larger predecessor, this tomato is firm and meaty with a decidedly sweet flavor, and is fantastic for cooking, in addition to eating raw as a snack or sliced into salads. Here, they are tossed in a baking dish (preferably a metal one so you can start the first step on the stovetop) with mozzarella, garlic, and red pepper flakes. This part can be done ahead of time! Bake it in the oven just before you want to serve it, so your guests can sop up all the melty cheese and flavorful juices with toasted crusty bread.

Shakshuka with Peppers, Feta, and Olives

This next recipe is perfect for a casual breakfast, brunch, or lunch, or honestly even dinner, at a time of year when there is so much running around and parties with foods that are heavier than we might normally eat. Sometimes breakfast for dinner is just the thing! Shakshuka is a dish of eggs poached in a flavorful stew of tomatoes with as many variations as there are cooks. It’s one of those dishes! This one is made with Sinfully Sweet Campari® tomatoes, which are just perfect here. They add amazing flavor, and hold their shape well in the stew, which is cooked with onions and garlic, sweet red bell peppers, feta, and Kalamata olives. It’s all finished off with a shower of fresh herbs. If you want to serve more than four people, you could squeeze two more eggs into the pan, or make a double batch in two pans. If you want to prepare it ahead of time, make the stew a few hours (or even the day) before, and reheat before proceeding with the recipe and poaching the eggs. Serve with warm pita bread on the side and you have a very satisfying and special meal with a minimum of fuss.

Recipes and blog were created exclusively for Village Farms by  Susan Spungen

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Cuddle Up To Comfort Food

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Recipes and photography by  Lunches + Littles

For most of us those long summer days are a thing of the past, and the cozy sweaters, boots, crunchy leaves and warm dishes are now making their way into our days- and nights. Yep, Fall is here and certainly in the air.

And, we are all about a cozy dish in our kitchen. There is just something about putting your hands around a warm bowl of soup or chili or taking a bite of a dish that boasts all of the seasonal flavors. Can’t you just taste it?

And just in time for all things Fall- we were so excited to once again partner with Village Farms to create two totally different dishes- both inspired by our favorite season.

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First up, we are sharing our take on chili; our Homemade Turkey Chili with Butternut Squash Noodles. This dish features the Sinfully Sweet Campari® Tomatoes from Village Farms in place of traditional canned tomatoes that the majority of chili recipes call for, and the difference of fresh in this dish is truly a-mazing. Our chili is full of vegetables, hearty and oh so cozy, and the butternut squash noodles add such a seasonal touch- and look.

Doesn’t it look delicious? And, it’s easy too. We love cooking up a large batch of chili for dinner- and having leftovers for the next few days. Yum. Another great thing we love- all of the goodness you can pack into a dinner like chili. We have celery, onion, squash, garlic, carrots, tomatoes, and more in this tried and true family favorite.

Oh, and the Sinfully Sweet Campari® Tomatoes are perfect for this one- they are a cocktail-size tomato with the perfect combination of sweetness and acidity, and work splendidly in chili, homemade pasta sauces, and more.

Turkey Chili with Butternut Squash Noodles

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Another dish we’ve been loving lately is a brand new one for us- our Autumn Pasta Bake featuring the Heavenly Villagio Marzano® Tomatoes. We have used these tomatoes before in a variety of recipes, and they never disappoint- these beauties boast an incredibly sweet flavor and are perfect baked into this dish (though, we all love eating them straight out of the package too!).

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And, since it’s Fall: let’s talk pumpkin. In our house roasted pumpkin never lasts long- it is so good, and we were so excited to work it into this recipe. There is just something incredibly cozy about a pasta bake and the amazing, seasonal flavors in this one takes it over the top. With a homemade pumpkin tomato sauce, assorted cheeses and then blistered tomatoes, sage leaves and roasted pumpkin pieces sprinkled on top- our Autumn Pasta Bake is a must-make; a great dish for a weeknight dinner, but also one that would be perfect for entertaining guests too- especially as we begin to approach the holiday season.

Autumn Pasta Bake

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When it comes to Fall, you just can’t beat cozy recipes like these, and we hope that you will give one- or both a try! They are both so perfect for the colder weather and highlight one of our favorite brands; Village Farms.

Recipes and blog were created exclusively for Village Farms by  Lunches + Littles

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Simple Summer Entertaining

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by Rebecca Lilly Costa from xxrlilly

Summer entertaining is in full swing at Casa de Costa! I’m talkin’ grilling, watermelons, refreshing mocktails… we are in party mode over here. I’m excited to be partnering with Village Farms to share two easy summer entertaining recipes featuring their lovely tomatoes. They offer quite the selection of tomatoes at my local grocer, but today I’m using their Maverick Mix® and Sinfully Sweet Campari® in these easy summer party favorites.

Tomato Melon Skewers

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The first is a no-cook skewer recipe highlighting summer melons, Maverick Mix® tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, prosciutto and balsamic. If your party guests are more creative, you could even leave your ingredients as a DIY bar for them! I opted to create my skewers before my guest’s arrival to keep things simple. Each juicy refreshing bite is more flavorful than the last! Plus, they’re an easy grab-and-go item for munching while you mingle at a summer party or for sandy hands enjoying a beach day.

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Now on to the mocktails! These tomato watermelon coolers can be made with vodka too, but I opted for sparkling water. A great trick I’ve learned for mocktails (or cocktails!) is using a mason jar as a makeshift shaker. Add all of your ingredients and cover. Shake it up, add ice and use a hand held strainer or mason jar lid with holes to strain. I love a signature drink for any party and this one has been a hit all summer! It’s refreshing, hydrating and delicious.

Campari Watermelon Coolers

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Another reason I love combining these recipes for the perfect summer party? They use the same ingredients! I like to keep my grocery list as simple as possible, so I love how diverse my menu can be even with just a few key ingredients, it even creates a theme to keep in mind!

If you’re short on honey, feel free to substitute with agave or maple syrup! Keep extra limes and tomatoes around for garnishing and feel free to offer jars of these for your guests to adorn their own drinks.

Recipes and blog were created exclusively for Village Farms by Rebecca Lilly Costa from xxrlilly

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Fun Spring Dishes for the Family

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by Lunches + Littles

It feels like we were just in our kitchen prepping recipes for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Yet, blooms are popping up all around us outside, and somehow Easter is right around the corner. I don’t know how it happens, but time flies, doesn’t it? And, as a family who often does a lot of hosting around the holidays, we know that time in the kitchen goes by way too fast as well- making delicious, easy recipes is a must.

That’s why today we are sharing two simple, fun, and kid-friendly recipes that we’ve created exclusively in partnership with Village Farms- and they are perfect for your Easter get-togethers. First up is a hearty, yet healthy breakfast: our Hash Brown Egg Nests w/ Blistered Tomatoes. These nests are so fun for little and big hands alike, and the individualized presentation just feels really special on your plate too.

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We have been making these little nests – in various forms, for a couple years now and they are always a hit with everyone. And making them with the addition of Village Farms’ Maverick Mix® tomatoes is a perfect way to add pops of color and tons of flavor too. Aren’t these tomatoes beautiful?

To make these Hash Brown Egg Nests w/ Blistered Tomatoes we start with seasoned shredded potatoes (you can shred your own, but a great, time-saving hack for this recipe is to buy a bag of pre-shredded tomatoes from your local grocery store), cheese and crumbled maple sausage and form that mixture into nests using a muffin tin. Once those bake and start to crisp up, we prepare fluffy scrambled eggs to add to the nests and then top them with a mix of blistered tomatoes, that resemble colorful little eggs.

The Maverick Mix® Tomatoes from Village Farms are so perfect for this dish because each pack contains 4 to 6 different flavorful varieties; each with a distinct shape and flavor, and the colors are stunning – red, orange, yellow, green, and brown- a true rainbow of color. These nests are tasty, pretty to look at, and easy to make, even for a busy Easter breakfast or brunch. And there is such a fun sophistication to these nests – beautiful to look at, but also so kid-friendly.

Hash Brown and Roasted Tomato Easter Egg Nests

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Next up, we have a centerpiece that is part work of art – part simple appetizer/side dish. Our Stuffed Tomato Tulips are a perfect centerpiece for your Easter table – and such a fun way to get your little ones involved in the kitchen doing more than just dying eggs, or eating chocolate! These little tulips are, in our experience, a show-stopping conversation piece – and delicious too!

Stuffed Tomato Tulips

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This recipe is not only simple; it is a great one to get your little ones to help out in the kitchen with. They can help mix up the filling, cut the chives or stems, and with help (dependent on their age) even stuff the tomato tulips!

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These tomatoes aren’t just the perfect shape and size for a fun centerpiece like this; they also have an incredibly sweet flavor and are rich in vitamin A and vitamin K. We don’t know what will wow your family and guests more – the taste of these authentic mini San Marzano tomatoes or this fun flower creation you can make with them.

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We are always looking for fresh new ways to bring people around our table and serve delicious, real food. We hope that you will give one- or both of these fresh recipes a try. They are both such fun recipes highlighting one of our favorite brands; Village Farms.

 

Recipes and blog were created exclusively for Village Farms by  Lunches + Littles

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One Pan Perfection

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by Lunches + Littles

For as far back as I can remember, I have been interested in creating colorful, delicious food. When I was a little younger I had a bit more time to play around with intricate recipes, but today my life looks a little different. When it comes to meal times these days, there are two things that are important to me: 1. Ensuring that what I am cooking is healthy for my family and 2. Ensuring that time to the table is kept to a minimum.

I want all of my children (3 babes, 4 years old and younger) to see me in our playroom playing with them, not constantly in the kitchen, and as such, developing recipes that are quick and easy, but also healthy and colorful is the key.

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When I was introduced to Village Farms last year I was immediately intrigued – all of their tomatoes are greenhouse grown and are just bursting with flavor. One variety we have fallen for is Village Farms’ Cherry No. 9 Fall in Love Again® tomatoes. They are good on almost anything and sweet enough to be a satisfying snack even for the littlest family members. Loaded with vitamin C, beta-carotene, and riboflavin, these sweet little tomatoes are a healthy choice and natural immune booster (which is perfect for a home full of little ones).

One Pan Roasted Cherry No.9 Fall in Love Again® Tomatoes, Chicken & Potatoes with Lemon Salad Recipe

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Recently I developed a recipe specifically for Village Farms’ Cherry No. 9 Fall in Love Again® tomatoes. This easy sheet pan meal; Roasted Tomatoes, Chicken and Potatoes w/ Lemon Salad is perfect for any family or couple, and also perfect year-round. The seasoned chicken breast tenderloins get all tender and juicy and then quartered potatoes and full tomatoes get roasted until perfected; then tossed with greens in a lemony homemade dressing, topped with lemon zest. The whole dish comes together in just 45 minutes, and the tomatoes give it that beautiful pop of color my family and I love.

Just last week, I made this dish that is now a staple in our home, again and had my best friend over for the meal. Not knowing that I had even developed this recipe with Village Farms, she said: “these tomatoes taste even better than the ones my parents have grown in their yard.” And, I’d agree. If you are looking for a delicious recipe that comes together easily and quickly check out this recipe, and if you are looking for a tomato variety that is kid-friendly and perfect for so many recipes as well as salads, snacks, etc. be sure to look for Village Farms Cherry No. 9 Fall in Love Again® tomatoes in a store near you. You will not be disappointed!

Created exclusively for Village Farms by Lunches + Littles