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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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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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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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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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Village Farms to Highlight Organics & Innovations at CPMA

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As seen on Fresh Plaza

Village Farms is poised to pack a punch in Montreal at the upcoming Canadian Produce Marketing Association trade show & conference held on April 3rd and 4th, 2019. 

The company will be adding the original & authentic Heavenly Villagio Marzano® and Maverick Mix® varieties to their certified organic offerings. These new items will be offered in 10 oz. and 1lb top seal packaged containers with attractive earthy designs.

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“With the continued success of our Stackable Snackables line of top seal packaged tomatoes the natural next step for us is to offer top seal packaging for our new Organic items that will provide all the same proven benefits to retailers and consumers,” said Helen L. Aquino, Director of Corporate Brand Marketing & Communication. “Village Farms Heavenly Villagio Marzano® is the one, the only, and the original, authentic mini San Marzano tomato available on the market today in North America, and we are pleased to now offer these as certified organic as well to our customers.”

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Village Farms will also be showing its award-winning Stackable Snackables line of top seal packaged tomatoes filled with their garden fresh exclusive varieties such as Lorabella Blossom®, Heavenly Villagio Marzano®, Cabernet Estate Reserve®, Cherry no. 9 Fall in Love Again®, Maverick Mix®, and Lip Smackn’ Grape®.

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(Andrew Sable, Sales Manager; and Avery LeFils, Marketing Coordinator)

They’ve also been working on some exciting new seasonal items to really “mix things up” including their new Chameleon Collection™.  Please come by booth 1405 and say hello to fellow villagers Aman Chatha, Northwest District Sales Manager; Andrew Sable, Sales Manager; and Avery LeFils, Marketing Coordinator at booth #1405 to get a sneak peek! 

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You’re Invited to a Supper Club!

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by My Diary of Us

Have you heard the news?  I’m launching a brand new virtual Supper Club where we can come together as women and share, cook, eat, and get to know one another all through the touch of a screen!  With the launch of this supper club, I am hoping to bring back a sense of community among other women, share delicious recipes, find out more about YOU, and to bring a little fun back into cooking!  I partnered with Village Farms to bring you two of my favorite easy recipes that are perfect for a gathering of friends and family, or in this case they are perfect for any supper club! My Green Monster English Muffin Pesto Pizzas with roasted tomatoes and my Individual Baked Spaghettis are super simple to make and they are guaranteed to delight kids and adults alike!

You might be wondering how a virtual supper club is going to work, well here is the deal…

Green Monster English Muffin Pesto Pizzas

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For this supper club, we are going to be cooking together live over on my Instagram page where you can interact with other home chefs, will be able to ask me on the spot questions that you might have about feeding your family, hosting parties, etc… nothing is off limits here, so there is no need to be shy!  (Hey, you just might even make a new friend!) I will be showing you just how easy and fun it is to use Village Farms fresh tomatoes to make two of my favorite recipes from my cookbook, Natural Baby and Toddler Treats, along with how to let to go and have a blast in your kitchen!

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First up we are going to make my green monster English muffins pesto pizzas, which happen to be the perfect party appetizer, or lunchbox item!  With the addition of fresh Village Farms Maverick Mix® roasted tomatoes on top, these mini pizzas are extra tasty and you will love that you will end up serving multiple veggies per pizza!

Individual Baked Spaghettis

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The second recipe we will be cooking up together are my individual baked spaghettis which is a take on a classic recipe my mom used to make growing up!  I am going to show you how to transform Village Farms Heavenly Villagio Marzano® tomatoes into a homemade meat sauce that makes this spaghetti extra delicious!  You will love making individual serving sizes the next time you host your own supper club or even for a family weeknight meal so that everyone ends up with the coveted crispy cheese edges!

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My hope for this supper club is that you can forget about perfection in the kitchen, and embrace the imperfections that is life instead!  Whether you have a toddler clinging to your leg as your cook up dinner, or have a dog barking for attention, let’s have fun regardless of the chaos!  Crank up the tunes and pour yourself a drink, because we are going to have a blast making some really delicious food!

Tune in Monday and Thursday for two Instagram live cooking sessions plus plenty of time for Q&A and girl talk!  I want to know all of your favorite ways to make memories through food with your friends and family! I am willing to bet, most of them start right in your very own kitchen!

I hope you will be cooking along with me this week and joining me (and other amazing women) as we rediscover what it means to have fun in the kitchen through this virtual supper club!  Just head over my Instagram page to participate!  These recipes are from my cookbook, Natural Baby and Toddler Treats and are a prime example how the book goes beyond babies and is really recipes that the whole family can enjoy!

Come introduce yourself, I can’t wait to know more about you!

Recipes and blog were created exclusively for Village Farms by Leigh Ann Chatagnier from My Diary of Us

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3 Rockstar Recipes to Simplify Turkey Day!

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by My Diary of Us

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and friends, let me tell you, it doesn’t have to be a stressful day! With the right amount of prep, you can enjoy your holiday with your friends and family and feel confident about the dishes that you are serving them too! I’ve got a few recipes that will make your Thanksgiving day a breeze, starting with a make ahead breakfast! I partnered with Village Farms to bring you three delicious and easy recipes that will complete any Thanksgiving while alleviating some of the to-dos the day of! These three recipes will help you feel like a rockstar in the kitchen when turkey day arrives!

Herby Tomato and Goat Cheese Egg Muffins

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I love an easy breakfast the morning of Thanksgiving because most of the time I am already prepping the big dinner and don’t have time to whip up something fancy, plus I want to be able to watch the parade a little and hang with the rest of the family! That’s why I created Easy Make Ahead Herby Tomato and Goat Cheese Egg Muffins made with Village Farms Maverick Mix® tomatoes. These can be frozen up to a week in advance and simply reheated for all of your guests in a matter of minutes! These muffins are perfect for kiddos and adults alike and are so full of flavor! Egg muffins keep breakfast light, which helps everyone save room for the main meal, while being satisfied at the same time!

I love finding ways to prep in advance and get others involved on this family-focused holiday so I don’t have to spend the whole day in the kitchen while everyone else is hanging out without me! Assign out tasks your kids and other family members can do so they feel like part of the celebration and the delicious meal too! (I bet they will enjoy dinner even more if they had a hand in preparing it!)

Spiced Tomato Cranberry Sauce

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One of my favorite sides that I always make a day or two in advance is my cranberry sauce! This year I have a recipe that will wow your guests with a twist on the traditional using Village Farms Cabernet Estate Reserve® tomatoes! My Spiced Tomato Cranberry Sauce is going to be the perfect tangy accompaniment to your turkey this year! This sauce is so great to make ahead because it actually gets more flavorful as it sits in the refrigerator, plus it’s one less dish to make on my list for Thanksgiving day!

Texas Harvest Succotash

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Side dishes to me are just as important as the turkey itself! My Texas Harvest Succotash is going to be a welcomed sight amongst all of the carbs at the table! It’s such a great recipe where you can add in vegetables like Village Farms Cherry No.9 Fall in Love Again® tomatoes and so many more!  I put a twist on the traditional and gave it a more harvest feel by adding in earthy fresh sage and butternut squash! All of the ingredients can be prepped a day in advance and simply sautéed up when ready to serve! This recipe is so delicious and beautiful; I am super excited for you all to try this one out this year!

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Another easy tip is to shop at one store for all of your Thanksgiving needs to save time! I was able to shop for all of the ingredients in these recipes at my local H-E-B! I love creating my master grocery list of everything I need to buy the weekend before Thanksgiving and then shopping at the beginning of the week so I can get a jump-start on prepping my dishes!

These recipes are sure to bring a little Texas to your table and make your day easy and delicious!

Recipes and blog were created exclusively for Village Farms by Leigh Ann Chatagnier from My Diary of Us

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Fresh Family Meals Under 30 Minutes

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by My Diary of Us

Just because back to school has rolled around and life is a little hectic right now, doesn’t mean that family dinners should go bye-bye because of a lack of time!  If anything, this is the time of year where family dinners become even more important because it just might be the only time everyone is together in one place! As you know by now, easy dinners that use minimal ingredients and can be on the table in around 30 minutes are kinda my thing!  That’s why I partnered with Village Farm Tomatoes to bring you not one, but THREE easy dinners that can be on your table in a hurry any night of the week! My Mexican Tomato Soup, Grilled Tomato and Cheese Sandwiches, and Skillet Chicken with Green Beans and Tomatoes are three recipes that your whole family is going to love!

Mexican Style Tomato Soup

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One tip for planning meals for busy weeks is to do one large grocery run where you can grab everything you need for dinners for the whole week!  I make a list on Sundays of the recipes I want to make, and then simply do one big run Monday morning! This keeps you from having to make multiple trips (that’s a time saver right there) and you will have all of your ingredients on hand to prep in advance or to make the night of! I always shop at our local HEB grocery store where I can grab everything I need from the Village Farms tomatoes to the rest of my ingredients where I know they are fresh and high quality ingredients that I am looking for! I am always impressed with all of the healthy options that HEB offers to its customers including their selection of Village Farms tomatoes that happen to be grown in a greenhouse right here in Marfa, Texas, which is so cool to me!  I love when I know that my ingredients are grown in the same area as me, don’t you?

Grilled Tomato and Cheese

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Another tip for easy weeknight cooking is to make dinnertime fun by getting the whole family involved with prepping the food.  This is one of my favorite tips for getting kids excited about what they are eating! Nine times out of ten, if they help you prep it, they will eat it!  Plus, it’s quality time that everyone can chat about their day before sitting down to dinner. I grew up in a house where we all ate dinner together and it’s still one of my favorite traditions to carry on with my own family because it really is a time to share good food and to interact with each other.

Skillet Chicken with Tomatoes and Green Beans

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These three recipes are going to become regular dinners in your house because they are healthy, easy, and taste amazing too!  I can’t wait for you to try them out for yourself!

These recipes and blog were created exclusively for Village Farms by Leigh Ann Chatagnier from My Diary of Us

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Hold on to Summer

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by A Couple Cooks

This Mediterranean tomato & grilled eggplant stacked sandwich with savory olive tapenade and basil pesto is a fresh, delicious vegetarian sandwich that’s quick and easy to make!

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It’s summer, you’re busy, and it’s hot, right? These times call for simple to prepare summer fare, which is where this stacked sandwich comes in! This tomato and grilled eggplant stacked sandwich is the first recipe that we’re sharing inspired by our summer vacation to the Mediterranean, and it tastes just like our travels. Many times during the day, we’d grab a sandwich from an Italian or Spanish sandwich shop. Especially in Italy, there were lots of tomatoes and eggplant sandwiches. We created our stacked sandwich especially for Village Farms and it features their juicy Sinfully Sweet Campari® tomatoes alongside smoky grilled eggplant, creamy fresh mozzarella, basil pesto, and our secret ingredient: olive spread. A stacked sandwich looks impressive without the fuss, which makes it a great option for concerts in the park and beach blanket picnics. Don’t forget the wine (or the frosé)! Keep reading for the recipe.

Tomato & Grilled Eggplant Stacked Sandwich Recipe 

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How to make a simple vegetarian stacked sandwich

Even with something as simple as a sandwich, it can become complex the more components you add. Since we wanted these vegetarian sandwiches to be as easy as possible, we chose each component carefully. A stacked sandwich can’t just look good: it’s got to taste amazing, too! The key is in the ingredient quality: do not skimp on this one. Here are the secrets on how to make our stacked sandwich:

Ripe tomatoes: In this recipe, we’re highlighting greenhouse grown Village Farms Sinfully Sweet Campari® tomatoes. These are hydroponic tomatoes grown in a way that’s gentle on the Earth and it makes a flavor that’s truly garden fresh (Alex and I are consistently impressed by the flavor of Village Farms!). The Campari tomato is cocktail-sized, basically a large cherry tomato.

Grilled eggplant: We used a grill to grill up our eggplant, but you can also use a grill pan or even bake it.

Basil pesto: What is summer without pesto? For a quick prep, we used a purchased pesto, but you can make it at home too.

Olive spread (tapenade): The “secret” ingredient here is olive spread, also called tapenade. You should be able to find several varieties of an olive spread or tapenade at your local grocery. If not, we have a killer recipe for homemade Kalamata Olive Tapenade.

Good bread: Here we used what our grocery store called an artisan hoagie; you can really use any type of bread. Just make sure it’s high quality!

For a low carb version of this stacked sandwich: forgo the bread and use the grilled eggplant as the stacking base, which makes a great presentation over greens as well.
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Tips for grilling vegetables

We love throwing summer vegetables on the grill, even tomatoes (including these). Writing a recipe for grilled vegetables is tricky because it depends on their thickness and each grill’s specific model and temperature. The most important thing is to pay attention: cook the vegetables until they are tender but not so soft that they fall apart. We like to use a medium to medium-high heat depending on the vegetable. Grilling vegetables can take anywhere from 8 to 25 minutes, depending on the vegetable. Grill pans can be useful for smaller cut vegetables so they don’t fall through the grates.

This recipe is…

This Sinfully Sweet Campari® tomato and grilled eggplant stacked sandwich are vegetarian and refined sugar-free. For gluten-free, use gluten-free bread. For vegan, you could try without the mozzarella, but we might sub in hummus to bring in a salty, savory component.

 

This post and recipe was created exclusively for Village Farms by A Couple Cooks

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Summer Snack Hacks

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by Lunches & Littles

As a mother of three little ones (five years old and younger), I make a lot of meals and snacks for my family. In any given week, there are school and work lunches, play date snack platters, and our own family breakfasts, at-home-lunches, and dinners. Additionally, my husband and I also really enjoy having friends over and entertaining and while we love it, let me tell ya; that requires a lot of extra time spent prepping and cooking!

Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love spending time in the kitchen, but you know what I love even more? – Quality time with my family and friends; especially as the weather is getting warmer and the nights longer. Now, if you follow me over on my feed @lunchesandlittles, you already know that eating healthy, real food is a priority for my family and me. And so, I love it when I find a company that helps us do that in a way that is both tasty and easy. Hello, Village Farms.

I cook quite a bit with tomatoes from Village Farms and my family also enjoys this bit of nature’s candy straight from the package. Fresh tomatoes have a place in our day to day; from snack platters to salads, to packed lunches and main meals, and our current obsession: Village Farms’ Heavenly Villagio Marzano® tomatoes. These tomatoes are so juicy and sweet, absolutely perfect for making homemade sauces and so much more. These little tomatoes are loved by even our youngest foodie (age two), are rich in vitamins A and K… Oh, and did I mention how versatile they are?

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We use tomatoes all different ways in our home, but one thing that I love to do with these tomatoes is roast up a whole batch at once and then make several different meals, sides or appetizers with them. Personally, I don’t meal plan enough (though that is a goal I have for 2018 for sure!), but when I do, even just a little, I know how much it helps. A little prep really can go a long way, and roasting just once for multiple meals/recipes is a great way to maximize the time that you are spending in the kitchen. That’s cooking smarter, not harder… Am I right?

I recently roasted up a pretty large batch of these beauties and developed 3 recipes exclusively for Village Farms. Each recipe combines the Heavenly Villagio Marzano® tomatoes with other fresh ingredients, and while each one has its own unique flavor and purpose, they are all sweet, fresh and made with real food. I am so excited to share these new recipes with all of you: Sweet & Spicy Roasted Tomato Salsa, Easy Roasted Tomato Hummus and a Roasted Tomato & Red Pepper Gazpacho – perfect for a summer day (or night)! All of these recipes are bursting with flavors, and they’re kid-friendly – which as you can probably imagine is very important in our home.

Knowing salsa can often be too spicy for the little ones, I make mine with just a little heat and a drizzle of honey for added sweetness (you can totally omit the heat if desired).

Sweet & Spicy Roasted Tomato Salsa

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Then, the Easy Roasted Tomato Hummus is a huge hit with our 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 little ones may not eat on their own (a total mom-win!).

Easy Roasted Tomato Hummus

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And, speaking of mom-wins: the kiddos enjoying the third recipe; a Roasted Tomato + Red Pepper Gazpacho; a recent addition to our meal rotation, certainly has my hubby and I all smiles. This chilled soup is full of hidden veggies, but overall maintains a very fresh, light and sweet taste (and smooth texture)! Perfect for the whole crew (and so easy to make!)

Roasted Tomato & Red Bell Pepper Gazpacho

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So, this season – let’s simplify meal planning. Easy prep like batch roasting some tomatoes can help you make several dishes in one take. And the versatility of Village Farms’ Heavenly Villagio Marzano® tomato is perfect for so many summery dishes!

Be sure to pick up some Village Farms tomatoes the next time you are out at your local store, and check out @lunchesandlittles for more family-friendly meal ideas, and simple recipes featuring real ingredients.

This post and recipe were created exclusively for Village Farms by Lunches & Littles and also appeared on Produce for Kids

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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

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Social Responsibility

Village Farms Celebrates Local During BC Greenhouse Veggie Days

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DELTA, BC – Village Farms is celebrating local this week by participating in BC Greenhouse Veggie Days as a member of the BC Greenhouse Growers’ Association. BC Greenhouse Veggie Days was created to promote buying local, fresh, nutritious veggies provided by the greenhouse sector.

The event runs from Friday, May 26 – Saturday, June 3. During that time shoppers will see products stickered with the BC Greenhouse Veggie Days logo and point of sale materials highlighting local produce at 140 participating Real Canadian Superstore, Overwaitea and independent store locations throughout British Columbia, Canada.

The event culminates with in-store visits by greenhouse farmers for most of the day on June 3 at the participating retailers.  Village Farms will also be sampling exclusive varieties of tomatoes and provide giveaways for participants of the event.  “We are excited to be participating in BC Veggie Days again this year.  It is a wonderful program that provides greater awareness of the greenhouse sector and gives consumers the chance to talk to our farmers about Village Farms sustainable growing methods,” said Helen L. Aquino, Director of Brand Marketing & Communication for Village Farms.”

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Fiesta Like There’s No Mañana

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by Diana Pittet

Cinco de Mayo is not what you think it is.

The Fifth of May does not mark Mexican independence from Spanish control. That’s Diecisés de Septiembre, or the Sixteenth of September. Nor is the day celebrated throughout Mexico. Only the State of Puebla considers it a holiday.

So what exactly is Cinco de Mayo?

On May 5, 1862 (52 years after September 16, 1810), the Mexican Army did the extraordinary. Numbering only 2,000, Mexican troops defeated the French–6,000 men strong—at the Battle of Puebla.  Under the leadership of Napoleon III, the French army was strategizing the occupation of Mexico to establish a Latin empire there. Although Mexico’s victory at Puebla did not stop its eventual occupation by the French in 1863, it did foster a sense of national unity, strength, and patriotism. This is the reason it is celebrated every year in Puebla.

North of the border and elsewhere in the world, Cinco de Mayo has transformed into a celebration of Mexican culture, cuisine, and drink. Nothing wrong with that! What better way to commemorate this than with two Mexican classics–salsa and tequila. These two recipes center around Village Farms produce, and rightly so. Village Farm tomatoes and cucumbers capture the vibrant, in-season flavors of Mexico’s extraordinary cuisine.

Recipe: Sinfully Sweet Campari® Fresh Tomato Salsa

Recipe: Luscious Long English® Cucumber Margarita

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.

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Your Health is in Your Hands

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by Kristina LaRue, RD, Love & Zest

Are you ready for some more breakfast eatin’!? Get excited because these Skillet Breakfast Tacos with Chorizo and Village Farms Cabernet Estate Reserve® Tomatoes are da bomb dot com. Like literally flavor explosion in every bite. This recipe is one of those can’t stop, won’t stop type of breakfast recipes. Seconds? Yes, please!

We are Mexican food all day err day type of people. It doesn’t have to be Tuesday for taco night (or breakfast) at our house! You know what I mean? Please tell me you are a taco loving person too. Because SKILLET BREAKFAST TACOS with Chorizo and Tomatoes, are on repeat over at our casa.

Recipe: Sauteéd Tomato & Chorizo Skillet Breakfast Tacos 

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I love creating simple easy-to-make recipes that are fit for active lifestyles…because let’s be honest. Nobody’s got time for complicated meal preppin…not even this “I cook for my job” food blogger. Some people think we eat all gourmet all.the.time because the images on the site look all fancy and stuff… so I felt like I should deliver this PSA today.

While pretty pictures are my day job, perfectly planned gourmet meals are the farthest from reality in our house. Just go ask my husband. I look up to all of you moms that have it together enough to crank out family meals seated at the table day after day with all the food groups. #momgoals

Truth be told, I’m an instant pot newbie, sheet pan dinner, and simple skillet lovin kind of gal. Anything to get me out of doing ALL THE DISHES. So now you know why I make you thinks like easy breakfast tacos MADE IN THE SKILLET, because real people like me gotta put breakfast and dinner on the table errr up for grabs too. We eat standing up or on the couch most days.

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This recipe was developed in partnership with Village Farms who have the most flavorful tomatoes your mouth has ever tasted. Remember those Shrimp and Cherry Tomato Cheesy Cauliflower Grits that you all swooned over last week using their tomatoes?? For reals, get your hands on Village Farms tomatoes ASAP.

I was inspired to create this Skillet Breakfast Taco recipe with their Cabernet Estate Reserve® Tomatoes because they have this beautiful crimson brown color and taste warm and bold, yet sweet and oh-so-fresh all at the same time. It’s a really fun tomato to eat, especially in a savory breakfast.

These tomatoes are more than gorgeous, as their unique crimson brown color contributes beneficial flavonoids that helps with improving blood flow and proper brain function. A cup of cherry tomatoes contains 350mg of potassium; a nutrient important for blood vessel health. Potassium is considered a shortfall nutrient in the diet. In fact, most people are only consuming half of the potassium they need for healthy blood pressure and bone health.

And remember tomatoes are even more nutritious when cooked because heat increases their lycopene concentration and makes it easier for the body to absorb … so into the skillet they go.

Skillet Breakfast Tacos are one of those brinner (breakfast for dinner) type of recipes… because they are hearty and flavorful enough to eat at the end or beginning of your day. Leftovers, I’m talking about you! If you’re of the meal prepping type and need breakfast in a hurry (who doesn’t??), this recipe is for you.

Prep the skillet breakfast taco mixture in advance and stuff it in the taco in the morning right before you stuff it in your mouth as you’re running out the door. See what I did there, I’ve made you the ultimate breakfast on the go.

So go ahead and do yourself a favor…get your skillet breakfast taco on!

This post and recipe were created exclusively for Village Farms and originally appeared on Love & Zest. Kristina LaRue, RD, CSSD is a board certified sports dietitian located in Orlando, Florida. Kristina is the author of the Love & Zest food and nutrition blog where she shares {mostly} healthy recipes with simple ingredients that are meant for real life.

Nutrition

Produce

Village Farms – Year of Empowering the Chef Within

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It may be the year of the fire rooster according to the Chinese New Year calendar but here at Village Farms 2017 is the year to “Empower the Chef Within”.  The fire rooster moves at high speeds and has a sharp focus and drive, always determined to reach its goals and we want the same for you! You may not think of yourself as a chef, you may not even really cook, but one thing’s for certain – we all have to eat. There are countless reasons we find ourselves leaning on take-out, meal kits, or frozen dinners to satisfy our hunger. As our society has transitioned into such a fast-paced environment a more eat-to-live versus live-to-eat mindset has emerged. The traditional family dinner and the preparation that go along with it have suffered, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

This year we’ll be providing you with the tools to get back to the dinner (or lunch, or breakfast table) using our fresh, healthy products in a way that is approachable and best fits your lifestyle. Whether you’re looking to eat healthy, cook on a budget or spend less time in the kitchen we’ve got you covered and more this year. Being a chef doesn’t have to mean weeks of training, hours of slaving over a stove or piles of dishes, it’s about creating meals we enjoy. Fresh, healthy, homemade meals are just around the corner and we’re here to help.

 

Tomato Tips:

Choosing – Look for bright colors, the green star (calyx) where the vine is attached to the tomato (if it’s on the vine) should be green and supple, not brown, shriveled or dry.

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Storing – Tomatoes should be stored at room temperature for optimum flavor and texture. If it’s absolutely necessary they can be put in the refrigerator, however we recommend allowing them to come back to room temperature before enjoying them.

Prepping – When it comes to cutting your tomatoes, it’s all about deciding ahead of time what their final use will be. For larger beefsteak tomatoes, like what’s typically used on sandwiches you may want slices, so place the tomato on its side and simply make them as thick as you’d like. For a hearty tomato salad slicing the tomatoes in half first and placing them flat side down on the cutting board will give you a more stable tomato to cut into wedges or quarters.

For smaller varieties like Campari, cherry, and grape tomatoes if you cut them in half at the stem you’ll get tomatoes that hold their pulp and juices better whereas if you cut them into quarters you’re allowing those juices to disseminate, which is great for salsas and bruschetta.

Our mini San Marzano tomato has a unique oblong shape, often leaving people wondering just how to cut it. Slicing them long-ways once or twice works great for adding them as a pizza topping or if you want them to hold up a little better in the oven. Cutting them into coins (as shown in the video) is a great option for salads or thicker sauces!

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Now put some of these skills to the test, check out our recipe page and Empower the Chef Within!

 

 

 

Nutrition

Village Farms Unveils Online Pairing Guide for Fresh Tomatoes and Cheeses

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As seen on AndNowUKnow® on December 26 

Village Farms Unveils Online Pairing Guide for Fresh Tomatoes and Cheeses

DELTA, BC & MARFA, TX – Consumers looking for exciting snack options as the climax of the holiday Mini San Marzano Cheeseseason draws nearer should take note; Village Farms bite-size tomato varieties pair perfectly with a variety of cheeses, and offer a clever twist when swapped in for a cheeseboard’s traditional bunch of grapes.

The company is offering a new pairing guide on their website, offering easy solutions for holiday meal-making and entertaining-
solutions pairing the sweetness and acidity of tomatoes with the richness of dairy.

“Our selection of exclusive varieties stems from a passion for tomatoes, and a close collaboration with our global seed providers. Together we look at fruit that will have debi_street_village_farms_vp_innovation_variety_developementthat wow factor in what I call a ‘taste experience’,” said Debi Street, Vice President of Variety Development and Innovation for Village Farms. “Fruit that passes the test provides flavor that is distinctive, mouth-watering, and delicious. Our Heavenly Villagio Marzano®, Cherry No. 9 Fall in Love Again®, True Rebel Mix®, and Cabernet Estate Reserve® varieties all possess these appetizing attributes and they pair perfectly with creative culinary offerings.”

Produce departments feeling left in the lurch by shoppers gravitating toward festive baked treats can use the company’s cheese and tomato guide to capitalize on unique cross-promotional sales opportunities this season. The guide offers a fresh take chno9anukblogon a traditional holiday fare.

And in a season that encourages overindulging, fresh tomatoes can be a welcome addition to any holiday spread—no cooking, prepping, or premeditation required—and are an excellent way to get a head start on New Year’s resolutions.

Village Farms’ quick and easy pairing guide is available through the What’s Fresh section of the company’s website, and offers tips to further enhance cheese and tomato platters with charcuterie, crackers, and more.

For more on unique ways to drive sales in the produce department, stay tuned to AndNowUKnow.

Nutrition

Produce

Village Farms has a handle on healthy snacking

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Our Love Handles series is packed for convenience in lovable grab ‘n go bags. Enjoy a healthy snack or meal with our exclusive varieties.

Meet the Love Handles series:

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heavenly villagio marzano®

The sweet taste of heaven on earth.™

Village Farms’ Heavenly Villagio Marzano® is a true Mini San Marzano whose genetics originated in a small town of the same name near Naples, Italy. The San Marzano was first grown in the rich volcanic soils shadowed by Mount Vesuvius 240 years ago. Today, this mini version is grown exclusively by Village Farms.

Flavor
Mini yet hearty, the Heavenly Villagio Marzano® is perfectly balanced with sweetness and acidity. A juicy, tantalizing eating experience. This Mini San Marzano is an heirloom-type variety of plum tomato that is distinctive in flavor! Its appearance is unique: thin and somewhat pear-shaped. It has a thick wall, making for a nice crunchy texture and bite. Naturally luscious and exquisite, the Heavenly Villagio Marzano® is remarkably sweet.

Serving Suggestions
The San Marzano tomato is known by chefs the world over as the premier sauce tomato, and our mini version is equally great to cook with, too. Try our heavenly villagio marzano® salad recipe.

Benefits
Heart-healthy snacking, rich in vitamins A & K. This juicy bite-size morsel benefits eyesight and strengthens bones, while the heart-healthy lycopene increases when cooked.

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cherry no. 9 fall in love again®

Exclusive to Village Farms, the Cherry No. 9 hails from southern France. Outside the walled city of Avignon in France, within the fragrant region of Provence, we absolutely fell in love again with tomatoes when first trying this variety… you will too!

Flavor
Juicy round cherry tomatoes with an intense sweet flavor and a very high brix. Smooth and sweet, its flavor is intoxicating, compelling anyone who eats one to eat another and another! As if taste wasn’t enough, its vibrant red color makes the Cherry No. 9 even lovelier.

Serving Suggestions
Wonderful fresh or roasted, enjoy the Cherry No. 9 Fall in Love Again® alone or in a delicious dish. Try our cherry tomato, tofu, and edamame salad recipe.

Benefits
Loaded with vitamin C, beta-carotene, and riboflavin, this tomato is a healthy choice and natural immune booster.

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cabernet estate reserve™

Exclusive to Village Farms, the Cabernet Estate Reserve™ hails from the middle of the Mediterranean region. The rich dark color is distinctive. The Cabernet Estate Reserve™ provides an unforgettable eating experience with each mouth-watering bite. The flavor profile is especially sweet.

Flavor
The superb crisp fruity taste has a flavor all its own! The Cabernet Estate Reserve™ is smooth and fragrant, which creates a striking presentation.

Serving Suggestions
The Cabernet Estate Reserve™ will “wow” any dish. Try our pasta alla norma recipe.

Benefits
A healthy dose of vitamins and minerals such as B6. Vitamin B6 helps the body metabolize protein and reduce the risk of heart disease. Low in calories and rich in fiber, these exquisite tomatoes are a healthy snacking alternative.

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true rebel mix®
A revolution in flavor™

Village Farms’ True Rebel Mix® is a radical pack of four to six different flavorful, plump varieties including the Mini San Marzano, Cabernet Estate Reserve™, and Cherry No. 9 along with fruit from our secret gardens!

Flavor
Each tomato has a distinctive taste, shape, size, and color. The goal of our True Rebel Mix® is to provide consumers with a rainbow of brilliant colors ranging from yellow to orange, red, green, and brown with amazing flavors.

Serving Suggestions
Break away from the norm in your culinary creations by mixing the various varieties that make up the True Rebel Mix® into your salads and dishes. Try our rebel tomato tart recipe.

Benefits
A healthy choice full of essential nutrients and antioxidants. Rich in lycopene and other essential nutrients and antioxidants, this mix is as healthy as it is revolutionary.

Events

Nutrition

Social Responsibility

Village Farms Celebrates 2nd Annual BC Veggie Day With Locally Greenhouse Grown Veggies.

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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.

 

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