For many of us, summer produce doesn’t get any better than a ripe, juicy, just-picked tomato. And there’s a farmer in Finchville, Kentucky, who can make all of our tomato wishes come true. At her Ambrosia Farm, Brooke Eckmann grows 82 varieties, including heirlooms such as Kentucky Beefsteaks, Orange Russians, Black Pears, and Striped Germans, and new hybrids like a small cherry tomato called Blue Berry.
Louisville chef Anthony Lamas, of Seviche, has created entire dinners based on Ambrosia tomatoes (think lobster seviche with tomato water and a lemon-tomato sorbet), and restaurants like Volare and Napa River Grill are big fans. So are the tomato lovers who flock to her stand at the Saturday Douglas Loop Farmers’ Market in Louisville, and to the Ambrosia Farm store on Wednesdays and Sundays. “We harvest the morning of the deliveries and markets,” Eckmann says. “It may not be the smoothest way, but it’s the freshest.”
Not bad for a former schoolteacher who, in 2011, went from growing in a community garden to full-on farming. All tomatoes, all the time has been a winning formula for Eckmann. She was named a 2014 Local Food Hero by nonprofit Seed Capital KY.