August is the month when my addiction to fresh tomatoes kicks into high gear, and I start having fantasies about hoarding them for the winter. So I rounded up several friends for a 40-mile round trip bike expedition so we could pick our own at the Smith Family Farm. There’s tons of other farms located in the Brentwood area, which is nestled in the northeast corner of the East Bay near the rich agricultural region of the delta.
We rolled out from the Pittsburg Bay BART station to the Delta de Anza Regional Trail, then veered onto the Mokelumne Coast to Crest Trail. Along the way, we spotted some grape vines, pomegranate and fig trees that were overflowing with fruit, so we filled our panniers (and bellies) with delicious foraged treasure.
Once we arrived at the Smith Family Farm, we got right to work picking (and snacking on) different varieties of tomatoes; right now there’s Black Russian, Brandywine, Roma, Beefsteak and San Marzano. And what a bargain — only $1/pound, plus they have plastic buckets or boxes you can use to gather up your produce. There’s still peaches, plums and even some nectarines on the trees if you’re in the mood for stone fruit. Asian pears are available, too, but be sure to call or check their Facebook page for the most recent updates on what you can pick. An hour later, after sorting through the fragrant fields in search of ripe tomatoes, my husband and I loaded up our bags with 35 pounds. We also made a quick pit stop at their farmstand to buy some other vegetables and relax in the shade with cool drinks.
After a tasty Vietnamese lunch at Pho Vietnam in downtown Brentwood, we pedaled our way through fierce headwinds and arrived back at Pittsburg Bay BART by sunset. Now it’s time to make salsa, soups and sauces!
Smith Family Farm also has a big tomato festival coming up on September 7th, with live music, arts and crafts, cooking demos, hay rides and more. You can RSVP and get more info on Facebook.