Living Without Abundant Tomatoes

According to the New York Times food blog, “customers keep going into Applewood, a restaurant in Park Slope, and asking for a tomato martini. The drink, made with onion-infused vodka, muddled tomatoes, basil and olive juice, has always been a summer favorite. But not this year. There just aren’t enough good tomatoes, said chef and co-owner David Shea.”

“This season, locally grown tomatoes have been hit with late blight, the same disease that caused the Irish potato famine in the 19th century. The contagious fungus has killed tomatoes across the Northeast, yielding almost no organic tomatoes and conventional ones of lesser quality. And as tomatoes have become less available, chefs have been forced to come up with new and creative ways to deal with their loss. Mr. Shea is taking advantage of the summer’s plentiful peach harvest, and entreating his customers to try a peach-rosemary smash, made with rosemary-infused bourbon, fresh peach syrup, lime juice and Patron Citronge. At Brooklyn’s Rose Water, owner John Tucker is taking advantage of tomatoes that are less affected by the blight, including grape, cherry and hothouse varieties. He’s serving fried green tomatoes at brunch, and oven roasting or sautéing grape and cherry tomatoes,” the story said.