In late August, a palpable change was in the air as we entered the late summer Earth or harvest time. The outward, engaged
activities of summer were still happening but there was a
subtle shift toward going within as the days begin to get shorter and the nights cooler in the Pacific Northwest.

Harvesting is a perfect way to harmonize with this energy and collect the fruits of the hot, yang summer to store for the colder yin months ahead. Touching plants and walking the earth helps your body stay in tune with the seasons, regulate stress, and boost your immune system. Eating fresh, organic, seasonal food in a rainbow colors also helps to balance your body and aid in health.

This year we went picking in Eastern Washington to Krueger Organic Farms U Pick. What could be better in the heart of winter than some stored up summer sunshine from Yakima. We picked Tomatoes, Sweet
Red Peppers, Shishito Peppers, and two kinds of Eggplant. We also bought a watermelon, honeydew and garlic from their farm stand because we couldn’t resist. The family was so helpful and knowledgeable, giving us samples of various melons and even sending us with four melon “seconds.” What a bounty!

Cooking techniques influence the nature of food in Asian Medicine. Baking is a technique that is drying and supports the functions of the Earth organs, the Spleen and the Stomach. Baking at a low temperature preserves more the vital nutrients of the tomato of which there are many.

Once we were home the real work began. We packed away marinara, roasted peppers, roasted eggplant, eggplant slices and my favorite, oven dried Beefsteak tomatoes. I can’t take credit for the recipe. It was all Martha Stewart, but it is a good one.

The tomato itself is the embodiment of summer. It is cooling in nature and good for clearing the heat, nourishing fluids and eliminating toxins. They benefit the Liver, Stomach and tonify the yin.
Packed with nutrients, tomatoes are stars in Western medicine too. In particular they benefit the Heart and cardiovascular system delivering loads of the phytonutrient Lycopene. They are high in other vitamins as well including C, K ,E, A, and B6.

Enjoy the pics and get yourself some tomato pie!