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  • Debbie J. Elder

Heirloom Tomatoes - Caprese Summertime Salad Recipe

Gorgeous heirloom tomatoes

It's tomato season at Cedar Crest Lodge and our huge garden is overflowing with beautiful heirloom tomatoes. From bright red to green to yellow and orange, the colors are vivid and enticing. Sizes range from tiny mini's to to weirdly shaped to somewhat round and oval. The taste is the best ever with juicy sweetness from everyone of these beauties.

What makes heirloom tomatoes so special? According to Bon Appetite,

"The seeds are what make an heirloom tomato an heirloom tomato. They are passed down from season to season, taken by the farmers from the tomato plants that produced the best fruit. This process allows farmers to select for certain desirable traits like juiciness, size, shape, or color. Heirloom tomatoes are also often open-pollinated, which means that they are pollinated naturally, by birds, insects, wind, or human hands. No weird science-y genetic modification here."

Our "Green Team" at Cedar Crest Lodge, the five workers who tend the garden and keep the manicured grounds looking so beautiful, are who to thank for these gorgeous tomatoes.

30,000 square foot garden at Cedar Crest Lodge

Green Team tending the garden

Tomatoes on the vine

The Culinary Team in the kitchen has been finding many ways to use this bountiful produce. From freshly made tomato/basil soup, to pasta sauces, my favorite is our Caprese salad.

The recipe is super simple.

Caprese Summertime Salad

Serves: 8-10


2 pounds of a mixture of medium and large heirloom tomatoes, all colors, sizes and shapes

1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes

Sea salt to taste

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Mini Mozzarella balls

6 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil

Fresh basil, cut into chiffonade

Bunch of basil for garnish


1. Slice tomatoes into a combination of rounds and wedges cutting away and discarding the stems and cores.

2. Slice cherry tomatoes in half.

3. Arrange tomatoes on a platter, overlapping by shapes, sizes and colors.

4. Sprinkle generously with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

5. Add mini Mozzarella balls using as much or little as you like.

6. Sprinkle with a generous amount of basil.

7. Optional: Place bunches of basil on corners of platter.

8. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

9. Allow salad to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

Note: Do NOT refrigerate as the flavors will change and not be as juicy and tasty.

The ultimate summertime salad: Caprese

Finding heirloom tomatoes may be a challenge for you. My best suggestion is to scout out the many local Farmer's Markets available at this time of year. Ask for a sample bite before purchasing. Or, visit one of the upscale gourmet groceries that the larger cities offer.

Enjoy this recipe!