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Aug 29, 2005 04:43 PM

Quetzal Farm dry-farmed tomatoes

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I picked up a couple of Quetzal Farm's dry-farmed tomatoes at the Berkeley farmers' market Saturday. Pretty good for Early Girl but disappointing compared with my favorites such as Marvel Stripe and Odoriko.

I picked the ripest they had but the color wasn't that deep. I'll try again if they look riper in coming weeks.

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  1. Dirty Girl is the master of dry farmed early girls. They are much better than dry farmed early girls from Ella Bella or Quetzal. Perfect balance of acidity and sweetness with an almost like lychee frutiness. They have a stand at the Ferry Plaza and worth every penny IMO.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Amy G
      Morton the Mousse

      Dirty Girl also sells at the Berkeley Tuesday market. I have a small preference for Quetzal, but they are both excellent.

      1. re: Morton the Mousse

        Don't forget Live Earth Farm, outstanding dry farmed tomatoes, I buy from them at the Los Gatos Farmers market.

        Link: http://www.liveearthfarm.com/

      2. re: Amy G
        Johnny Appleseed

        Beg to differ just a bit. Early Girls from Ella Bella are second to none. I look for the smaller ones and am never disappointed. Had a few for lunch today with some Cow Girl cheese and levain from Della Fattoria. What could be better?

        1. re: Johnny Appleseed

          Brandon from Ella Bella is who turned me on to the trick of looking for a slight discoloration at the bottom of a tomato. It means the sugars are starting to release. Hasn't failed me yet. I'm sure people wonder why I'm turning tomatoes upside down when I'm picking them out, but whatever works...

      3. p
        Prabhakar Ragde

        I had pretty much the same experience. That was a week ago, and I couldn't find the Dirty Girl stall at all. --PR

        1 Reply
        1. re: Prabhakar Ragde
          Robert Lauriston

          I think Dirty Girl is at the Tuesday market only.

        2. Even though heirlooms are prettier, I've been utterly enchanted by the dry-farmed EGs this season. To my palate, they are the perfect eating tomato and need no embellishment beyond some Maldon sea salt. They are well-balanced and make me think "fruit" more than "vegetable."

          From the farmer's market, I've been getting them from Dirty Girl farm as well. They are consistently top-notch quality but are the priciest in the Santa Cruz area at $3/lb. They are present at both the Wed. and Sun. market here.

          In addition to DG, don't forget Mariquita farms based in Watsonville/Hollister! I did upick at their farm in Hollister last weekend (thanks to rworange's notice) and **hand-picked from the vine** all the lovely tomatoes that are pictured below. The amazing thing is that they're 50 cents/lb. so what's pictured there is about 40 lbs. total. The EGs are at the very top left of the photo and look smaller than they really are b/c of the angle of the photo. San Marzanos (right side) and Beefsteak (bottom) are also available at the same price. The EGs are my favorite though!!!

          Upick tomatoes at Mariquita will be this Thurs. and also Sept. 10th. Check their website for more info. There was also a small farmstand for other purchases like eggplant (white!), basil, peppers, etc. If you don't want to make the trek, then check Mariquita's stall on Sat. at the Ferry Plaza market.

          Disclaimer: I am friendly w/ one of Mariquita's owners ("chardgirl") whom I met through Chowhound. BTW, she looks very fetching in a ladybug apron.

          Image: http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y45/...

          2 Replies
          1. re: Carb Lover

            Just to add to the Marquita info...

            (and non-affiliated other than as consumer and consumer)

            At Ferry Plaza you can get a flat (a cardboard box of 15 lbs plus) for $15 for EG or $17 for San Marzano. They have both been great this year. Haven't really tried vs the Dirty Girl (also at Sat Ferry Plaza, though only DG has samples), but at 1/2 the price, I vote Marquita.

            Marquita by the pound is $1.60 or $1.70, I think.

            1. re: Carb Lover
              Robert Lauriston

              I got a couple of Dirty Girl dry-farmed Early Girls at the Berkeley farmers' market yesterday (they're not at the Saturday market) and they were good. Definitely looked riper than Quetzal's.

              Though the Full Belly Marvel Stripe I ate yesterday was just as good and prettier to look at.