The Ultimate Guide to Tomato Harvest: Sourcing Locally and Enjoying the Bounty

As summer unfolds, gardens and farmers markets burst into vibrant displays of fresh produce, with tomatoes taking center stage. These versatile, nutrient-packed gems are a staple in kitchens worldwide. American Dining Creations’ cafes will use locally sourced tomatoes in delicious recipes like a Caprese Salad.

At American Dining Creations, our culinarians plan our menus around in-season items. We recognize that producing crops harvested within the natural growing cycle requires fewer resources and promotes better land use. To celebrate the summer season, we incorporate exciting engagement events in our cafes, like our Farmer’s Market pop-up, which features produce from local farms and businesses.

Kelly’s Choice and American Dining Creations have teamed up to explore all things tomato, including their nutritional qualities and the benefits of sourcing them locally.

Varieties of Tomatoes

Today, there are thousands of tomato varieties, each with unique flavors, colors, and uses. Some popular types include:

Beefsteak Tomatoes: These large, juicy tomatoes are perfect for slicing and sandwiches and are known for their robust flavor.

Roma (Plum) Tomatoes: Their dense flesh and low moisture content are ideal for sauces and canning.

Cherry Tomatoes: These small, sweet tomatoes are sumptuous for snacking and salads.

Heirloom Tomatoes: These tomatoes are known for their unique colors and complex flavors. They are often cherished for their historical significance and diverse tastes.

Nutritional Benefits of Tomatoes

· Rich in Antioxidants: One of the most well-known antioxidants found in tomatoes is lycopene, a carotenoid responsible for their red color. Lycopene has been extensively studied for its potential to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease. A study published in the journal Nutrients highlights that lycopene’s antioxidant properties help combat oxidative stress and inflammation, which are key factors in developing these diseases.

· Excellent Source of Vitamins and Minerals: Tomatoes are also a significant source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium. Vitamin C, an essential nutrient, is crucial to immune function and skin health. According to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, tomatoes’ high vitamin C content contributes to improved immune defense and reduced risk of infections.

· Potential Role in Weight Management: Including tomatoes in your diet may also aid in weight management. They are low in calories and high in fiber, which promotes a feeling of fullness and helps regulate appetite. Tomato consumption is associated with reduced body weight and fat mass, making it a beneficial food for those looking to maintain or lose weight.

The Benefits of Sourcing Locally

Sourcing tomatoes from local farmers markets offers numerous benefits for both consumers and the community.

Freshness and Flavor: Locally sourced tomatoes are often harvested at peak ripeness, ensuring maximum flavor and nutritional value.

Supporting Local Economy: Purchasing from local farmers helps sustain the community and promotes sustainable farming practices.

Environmental Impact: Local produce requires less transportation, reducing the carbon footprint associated with long-distance shipping.

Variety and Quality: Farmers markets often offer a wider variety of tomatoes, including heirloom and specialty types not typically found in supermarkets.

Incorporating Tomatoes into Your Diet

Tomatoes are incredibly versatile and can be incorporated into a variety of dishes. Here are a few ideas, many of which you may find in your cafe:

Salads: Cherry tomatoes add sweetness and color to any salad.

Sauces: Make a rich marinara sauce with Roma tomatoes for pasta dishes.

Salsa: Fresh salsa made with diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and lime juice is perfect for summer snacking.

Grilled: Sliced beefsteak tomatoes, lightly seasoned and grilled, make a great side dish or burger topping.

Tomato harvest season celebrates one of nature’s most versatile and delicious fruits—yes, they are fruits! By sourcing locally and incorporating these vibrant tomatoes into your meals, you enjoy peak flavor and nutrition and support your community and the environment.


Abid, Zaynah, et al. “Tomato Consumption and Its Effect on Body Weight and Fat Mass: A Meta-Analysis.” Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, vol. 2021, 2021, doi:10.1155/2021/2764578.

Carr, Anitra C., and Silvia Maggini. “Vitamin C and Immune Function.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 98, no. 1, 2017, pp. 1575S-1579S, doi:10.3945/ajcn.112.031802.

Kaur, Arjinder, et al. “Lycopene and Its Role in Chronic Diseases.” Nutrients, vol. 13, no. 10, 2021, pp. 1-24, doi:10.3390/nu13103375.