Friday, February 24, 2012

Hydroponic Salad Greens and Windowsill Tomatoes

Hydroponic Greens with Windowsill Tomatoes
The other day we passed the Finger Lakes Fresh green house outside Ithaca.  It was lit up with lots of goodness growing inside.  My mouth started to water, and I was reminded me of this post, which you may have missed the first time around. 

I still make it through the winter this way.  Since 2010 I have learned that Wegman's Super Sweet Cherry Tomatoes are much better than the grape tomatoes, plus we found a tub of prewashed greens, called Lamb's Lettuce with herbs, that is almost as good as Finger Lakes Fresh for the days when I feel lazy and don't want to wash and spin.    --B 

Originally posted April 12, 2010:

I crave a good salad all winter long until the farmer's markets are open again.  I work on ways to attempt to get that summer fix using store-bought ingredients.
I have discovered hydroponic greens --- they are fabulous!  These are made locally and a support a good cause to boot!  Finger Lakes Fresh is in Ithaca and employees 18 disabled people.  It is a division of Challenge Industries.

They are sold in Wegman's --- but not where you would expect.  They aren't with the prepackaged, bagged lettuces.  They are here in the regular lettuce department, buried on the bottom row. 

You have to look for them.  Lousy location, but definitely a find!!!  They are 2.99 vs. 2.49 for a bag of prepacked lettuce. But think about the good cause you are supporting.  And it seems like you get more greens.  I feel good about spending the extra 50 cents. They will stay fresh in their bag, in the crisper for a week.

Yes, you do have wash and spin, so they aren't quite as convenient as the bagged ones.  But these greens are crisp, yet delicate!! It is worth it. They haven't been washed in an acid bath like the bagged ones.

If you want to learn more about Finger Lakes Fresh or how hydroponic greens are grown, they have a video on their website. Cornell is involved, and you may have seen the FLF greenhouses when you drive north out of Ithaca. 

Also, I have learned that I can slowly ripen grape tomatoes on my windowsill .  It takes weeks --- sometimes I let them go for a month-- to develop sweetness.  I add new tubs so I always have ripe tomatoes.  Small tomatoes work the best.

I am just using an air drying technique.  My containers have good ventilation and the window is on the north side of the house, so it is weak light.  Anyway, it is magic!! I love these tomatoes.

One the college girls who used to work for me making jewelry, and who is a health food nut, was shocked that I would leave the tomatoes out for so long.  She'd work for me during her college breaks.  She came back months later and saw the tomatoes, now shriveled like raisins, and finally questioned me.  What is that all about???

Shriveled sweetness was my answer. 

fyi  -- I never put my tomatoes in the refrigerator -- I don't know if it is the right thing to do or not, but I just can't stand cold tomatoes in a salad. I particularly don't like restaurants to serve cold tomatoes.  Made-in-advance, refrigerated salads turn me off.  I'd be a picky restaurant reviewer.   

But a salad from Finger Lake Fresh greens and windowsill tomatoes turns me on.  Especially when it is dressed with a simple vinaigrette of good olive oil, vinegar and salt and pepper. 

I am hoping that our Wegman's will add the Finger Lakes Fresh arugula, and eventually, their spinach, too.  And I hear that Wegman's has hydroponic tomatoes in some of their stores, too.  Sarah said she bought hydroponic yellow tomatoes in Buffalo at her Weggies, and they were the talk of the dinner when she served them in her salad.


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