Fabulous. If you turn the clock back just 10, no, even 5 years ago and you said, “Marketman, can I get 3 kilos of fantastic organically grown heirloom tomatoes of varying types AND at the exact same time 10 dozen roses raised the old-fashioned way and which even had some real fragrance to boot and not break the bank?” I would have said “No way, Jose (or Maria), no can do.” But that was then, and these tomatoes and roses are now. Thank you Nico at DowntoEarth for doing what you are doing.
It was only three years ago, that reader Myra P informed me that DowntoEarth would begin selling their produce at the Salcedo market. I was there on their first day, and I bought practically a third of their stocks! See my old post, here. The proprietor, Nico Aberasturi and I have spoken on several occasions since, and his passion for his produce is infectious. Over the past three years, his business has grown, and their produce, that is mostly airfreighted from a farm in Bukidnon, is something I always look forward to. Along with Gejo of Malipayon Farms, Nacho from Toscana, My suki Mary, from Benguet, and other purveyors, I get great veggies I couldn’t have dreamed off just 10 years ago.
While driving down Yakal Street one day, I noticed signs for DowntoEarth’s new retail (and office) space near the end of the street, and while its apparently been there for months, I had never visited it. I dropped by and by chance Nico was around and we spoke and he gushed about heirloom tomatoes so I went home with a kilo of the precious commodity. I placed an order for June 30, Monday and got 3 kilos of heirlooms and 10 dozen roses. It was Mrs. MM’s birthday dinner the following night, and we had a quiet dinner for just 9 guests total at home.
The tomatoes were packed in a box, with individual partitions, to prevent bruising. Back at home, I let the tomatoes ripen overnight placed stem down as I noticed that’s what Nico’s staff were doing. Laid out on a wooden bread board, they looked like a million bucks. Mind you, they aren’t cheap, but they are worth every centavo of the PHP400 per kilo premium price they charge.
Some of our crew thought I was a bit mental, reveling in the odd shapes, the erratic sizes, the weird colors. But that’s precisely what I was hoping for from a batch of heirloom tomatoes. Revisit this old post I wrote on an heirloom tomato salad I made in San Francisco 4 years ago while on a visit with friends.
And the roses, just look at those colors. It’s hard to describe them other than a riot of nature. Natural colors, a bit schizophrenic and unpredictable. I don’t normally go so colorful, but just wait till you seem them on the table…