7 Things You Didn't Know About Tomatoes

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I’ve told you all about our rooftop garden. It’s in full bloom now and Chef Yoel Cruz is happily utilizing every last eggplant, leek and pepper. I love everything we’ve planted, but my absolute favorite is tomatoes. There’s nothing better this time of year than a plump, juicy ruby red tomato, right? Here’s a few facts that I dug up about my favorite vegetable.

1.There are over 10,000 varieties of these yummy red veggies.

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2. The tomato originated in South America, around 700 A.D. The first Americans to use tomatoes in their cooking were the Creoles in South Lousiana.

3.  The largest worldwide producer of tomatoes is China, followed by the U.S.A.,Turkey, India and Egypt.

4. You know that tomato is technically a fruit, but did you know that in 1893, the Supreme Court ruled that tomatoes are vegetables? In 1887, U.S. tariff laws that imposed a tax on vegetables–but not on fruits–causing the tomato’s status to buy generic cialis become a matter of legal importance.The court’s decision was made based on the popular definition that classifies vegetables by use, and while a tomato may biologically be a fruit, it’s served and eaten more like a vegetable.

5. Bathing in tomato juice can get rid of the smell of a skunk spray. I thought that that was an Old Wive’s Tale, but turns out it’s true. Hopefully, I’ll never have to test this, but if anyone does, please let me know.

6. Tomato sauce is an excellent way of cleaning anything made from copper, as the salt and acidity of tomato sauce helps remove copper oxides, leaving bright metal behind.

7. You should never, ever store tomatoes in the fridge. What goes in plump and juicy will come out mealy and with a duller-than-dull flavor. Keep them on the windowsill while they ripen.

You are now officially a tomato expert. You’re welcome.

 

 

Eating cooked tomatoes may act as a kind of internal sunscreen, according to researchers at the Universities of Manchester and Newcastle, England, by helping block UV rays. But eating tomatoes is only a supplement to using sunscreens, they caution, not a replacement. – See more at: http://www.hgtvgardens.com/tomatoes/fun-facts-about-tomatoes#sthash.UaAhjhY7.dpuf

 

Check Out Our Garden!

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We’re thrilled to let you know that the hotel’s vegetable and herb garden is even bigger, badder and greener this year. So what’s on the menu? Collard greens, cabbage, lettuce, acorn and patty pan squash, eggplant, tomatoes and pumpkins are just a few of the offerings.

Jake’s Rooftop Garden, named after owner Judy Paul’s grandpa, came to be in an interesting fashion. Tommy Benedict, an urban landscaper and the guy in charge of the whole shebang, took me though the beginnings. (You know those beautiful flower arrangements in the restaurant? The ones that you could never, ever fathom doing yourself? That’s Tommy.)

Judy had always wanted a rooftop garden, and last year finally decided to do something about it. As the building is a little um, long in the tooth, she checked with an engineer to see if it the roof could actually carry the weight.

And so an ingenious idea was born. To avoid putting any direct pressure on the roof itself, a kind of suspended railroad was created around the perimeter and secured with iron. Crates and window boxes carrying the actual produce are perched on the contraption, raised about a foot up along the edge of the ceiling.

And there you have it…a rooftop garden that doesn’t actually touch the roof:

 

Tommy feels that vertical growing in containers as opposed to sideways ultimately produces a higher yield, as herbs and vegetables are continuously harvested and thus constantly replenish themselves. (Farmers with a vast acreage can usually only harvest once a year.) Another advantage to using crates is that individual boxes of veggies can be moved around so that each gets the proper amount of sun…micro-management at its best.

Last year, the garden yielded almost enough herbs to fuel the entire restaurant and bar. (Yes, we grow our own mint for our mojitos–don’t you?)  So this year, Chef Yoel Cruz presented Tommy with a detailed wish list of what he could use in the kitchen–and Tommy came through. Almost a dozen different types of peppers, three types of basil, leeks, chives, zucchini…you get the picture. Our herbs and vegetables are mostly sourced from local farmers and Tommy expects to keep the garden going through October, or at least until the first frost.

Jake’s is a true city garden. New Yorkers are geniuses in space utilization and the hotel is no exception. Tommy explained to me that pfizer viagra cheepest prices horticulture may be a science, but you still have to experiment and make it your own. He’s committed to looking at different ways to feed us and we’re equally committed to eating it up.

 

Five Things You Really Need to Know About the Rooftop Garden

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1.  We’ve got heirloom tomatoes and chillies and herbs, oh my!

2.  It’s a family thing. The garden, dubbed Jake’s Rooftop Garden, was named after owner Judy Paul‘s granddad, Jacob.

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3.  It’s an herb thing.  Seventeen of them to be exact, including three varieties of thyme (English, silver and lemon) and two each of sage (garden green and golden) and oregano (Mexican and Italian).  They’re  used both in the restaurant (Thai basil in the lobster and crab cakes) and the lounge (mint

juleps, because we’re in Southern Manhattan y’all.)

4.  It’s a local thing. All the chillies, herbs and tomatoes are locally sourced from Oak Grove Plantation in New Jersey and Binder Farm and Atlantic Nursery, both in Long Island.

5.  If you thought Chef Cruz’s food was yummy before….well, you ain’t tasted nothing yet.  Farm-to-table scrumptious.