Farmer’s market panini

One of the most wonderful things about our city is the farmer's market. It is located on a portion of the rail yards property originally developed by the New York Central Railroad Company in the late 1800's. The only remaining building was originally a transfer dock and warehouse for the railroad.

In the 1990s, the city decided to convert it into an indoor-outdoor farmer's market. The old building now houses a gourmet grocery shop, a wine and cheese shop, a chocolate shop and an Italian restaurant. The outdoor market is populated by farms from all over the state, bringing in plants, produce, herbs and flowers in season. There is always a stall selling delicious homemade icecream. I can't think of a better place to buy weekend groceries, including gorgeous tomatoes.


The Mortgage Lifter tomato was developed during the Great Depression in Logan, West Virginia by a radiator repairman, M.C. "Radiator Charlie" Byles. He made a successful cross of four of the largest tomatoes he could find – German Johnson, Beefsteak, an Italian variety, and an English variety. Radiator Charlie sold the first seedlings of his new tomato in the 1940's for one dollar each. With these sales, Charlie managed to pay off his $6,000 mortgage in only six years, and so the tomato was named Mortgage Lifter. This large, meaty, mild-flavored tomato has few seeds and is the perfect sandwich tomato.


Toasted sourdough bread, spread with homemade pesto, roasted zucchini, red onion and fresh Mortgage lifter tomatoes. The taste of summer.

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About purplesque

Psychiatrist, cook, bookworm, photographer. Not necessarily in that order.
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18 Responses to Farmer’s market panini

  1. Waterbaby says:

    Charlie Radiator – I love it! That is a great story … down to the naming of Mortagage Lifter … wonderful! Tomatoes are funny for me – don't like any except Roma, don't like tomato juice but do like hot tomato soup (paired with a grilled cheese, please) and love V-8 (though admittedly that's a veggie, not tomato juice). Fortunately tomatoes are the only fruit with which there's this weird thang!

  2. Ah I love reading your blog but it always makes me hungry for good cooking. It is so hot here in the summer that I don't like to cook much. I long for a good tomato. I tried to good some last year but it was fruitless…I made a funny.
    I so miss having a garden in the summer. And your photos of the food are so wonderful. I most get out more in the VOX hood, I've been way to busy and missed seeing what everyone is posting.

  3. faithy says:

    I love tomatoes..and i learnt something today..i didn't know there's a Mortgage Lifter tomato and the story behind it. I don't think i've seen them here at our supermarts..but perhaps i've not notice it..must check out again when i do grocery shopping..

  4. Oh, YUM!!!!!!!Tomatoes…*sigh*Love them so much!Your pictures are wonderful, esp the GLORIOUS panininininini (LOL…I know someone who says it that way and then giggles) one.Also really interesting info.Fresh produce is the coolest thing!We're getting faux-Jersey tomatoes that are outrageously overpriced and odd. Not certain why….Jersey is just a hop, skip and a jump from here. Maybe there was too much rain in South Jersey this season? Who knows.So I'm HUGELY envious of those beauties you posted!!!!Ice cream???Did you?What flavor?

  5. Purplesque says:

    Ha ha..I don't like tomato juice either, but love tomato soup and tomatoes in all my curries. They are a bit weird like that- great in some forms and not so great in others.

  6. Purplesque says:

    🙂 I know all about trying to grow them- had fifty-some green tomatoes on my plants this year, before the squirrels decided to take over. They did not leave a single tomato, and nothing I used- chilli peppers, cinnamon, seems to deter them. I'm not very hopeful..Don't worry about not being able to follow everyone- I'm struggling with it as well. Darned real life!

  7. Purplesque says:

    You are more likely to find them in a farmer's market than the grocery stores- I rarely find heirlooms in the mega mart, and when I do, they are awfully expensive.

  8. Purplesque says:

    Heirlooms are usually very expensive in the grocery store- but these were only 1.99 a pound at the farmer's market, and likely to get even cheaper! Never had a Jersey tomato- what are they like?Icecream- yes, we did! Its from this local store called Ellen's and they make their own icecream- it is not as sweet as other icecreams and very rich! I love it, and am going down their list- vanilla the last time, chocolate this time, and butter pecan is the next. 😀

  9. Here's info on the term Jersey Tomato — it's idiomatic in this region, I guess….more about the location than the type of tomato. But right now they're about 3.99 a pound and carppy. The PA ones are too. The local produce place has some over-ripe ones for 2.99 a pound but they look like they're ready to explode. If you don't feel like reading that link, the upshot is that moslty they're Beefsteak.Heeee…..your ice cream exploration plan sounds great!I'm headed outside to whack the heads off some weeds………..*waves*

  10. Waterbaby says:

    I dunno, I know folks who love tomatoes in any and all forms. Oh, and let me not forget ketchup. Yech yech and yech! What do I use on those very rare occasions I eat fries? Why, mayo of course!

  11. Waterbaby says:

    Funny you mention squirrels and tomatoes — just yesterday I was listening to a radio gardening program and that very problem came up. Just wish I could remember what the gardener advised as the solution (wasn't paying super close attention). Since it's a weekly show, perhaps I should call him next week to ask!

  12. Ha so you have critters that eat your veggies too! In California I always had a garden and only had a few birds that would peck the tomatoes and the fruit on the trees. I did have a dog that eat the bell peppers!

  13. Purplesque says:

    That's an interesting story- I hope I get to taste a real Jersey tomato sometime! *shudder* at the prices..Hope you got the weeds good. 🙂

  14. Purplesque says:

    That would be a Huge help! I bought some critter repellent that basically has capsaicin and smells awful. Haven't seen any squirrels since then, but it might be too late for my poor tomatoes.

  15. LOL: they're VANQUISHED!!!!!!!(for now…..)

  16. Purplesque says:

    LOl @ the dog eating your bell peppers! My dogs loved eating melons and papayas..we had to hide them in the cupboard.

  17. Yes, he would eat them when they were about the size of two thumbs. I took me a while to figure out who was eating them…you don't usually have to worry about a dog eating peppers!

  18. YOW!! Now I feel guilty whining about the tomatoes around here: there's a fungus among us. I guess we're lucky to get any!

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