Tomatoes come into season once a year in August. When we first started Clover we weren’t even sure we’d have tomatoes on the menu at all outside of August. Then we heard about Backyard Farms. They use hydroponics to grow year-round in a giant greenhouse.
A few days ago we got the chance to go up to Backyard Farms. It’s really hard to imagine before you see it for yourself. The day we went it was 35 degrees out. You don Tyvek suits so you’re already sweating a little bit when you step inside the greenhouse and then it’s like summer. The sun beats down on you. There are tons of grow-lights everywhere. Gardeners care for their own plot of plants. They ride on little carts that go down these neat rows on tracks. Water from melting Maine snow feeds the tomatoes through pipes. It feels like a mix between a factory, a lab, and a greenhouse in someone’s backyard. It’s many football fields in length.
These tasty winter tomatoes were the impetus for a Maine Tomato Sandwich Chris came up with a few years back. We flash-fry Atlantic dulse, a seaweed harvested from the waters of Acadia, Maine by Ironbound Island Seaweed. There’s a spread made with Kitchen Garden Sriracha and mayo. The bread is from Maine too (flour milled at Maine Grains from Maine-grown wheat.) The sandwich launches tomorrow 4/26 at 11am to the general public (we did a little soft launch today for Clover app users.)