Backyard Farms is a 42 acre farm located in Madison, ME committed to growing fresh, ripened-on-the-vine tomatoes all year round. They are the largest grower of year-round tomatoes in New England. All tomatoes are picked and shipped within one day to local markets in the Northeast. You can find their flavor packed tomatoes as local Whole Foods and Hannafords and see them at many of Boston’s local food festivals and events throughout the year. Now you can get fresh, local tomatoes YEAR ROUND instead of product that is imported from Mexico. Talk about tasty!! Backyard Farms was also the recipient of Whole Foods 2014 North Atlantic Produce Supplier of the Year.
NEBO, one of Backyard Farms Chef Partners, is located on Atlantic Ave in Downtown Boston and owned by sisters Carla and Christine Pallotta. Former hairdressers and spa owners these sisters decided to leave the beauty business behind in 2005 and opened the original NEBO in Boston’s North End. The name of the restaurant even comes from that original location (NEBO = North End Boston)! Here you will find authentic Italian cuisine in a comfortable atmosphere reminiscent of their mothers kitchen they grew up in. In the spring of 2013 NEBO moved into the sisters dream location at Atlantic Wharf featuring a stunning open kitchen, floor to ceiling windows, and of course hand-rolled pastas made in house.
I was SO excited for this luncheon. I had eaten at NEBO once before and it was fantastic and I am a huge tomato fan so this was a match made in heaven.
When I arrived I glanced over the menu and boy did it look good :)
First we got to hear about Backyard Farms and meet some of their team members. I loved hearing about their new Somerset Pink tomato which is full-flavored beefsteak tomato that took many years to perfect and requires very specific growing conditions. It has a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity due to its higher sugar content and is just as tasty eaten as is as well as incorporated into a recipe.
Next we got to meet sister Chefs Carla and Christine Pallotta and learned all about their childhood growing up in the North End and what brought them to leave the hair salon business behind and open up the super successful NEBO with no prior restaurant training. I loved the stories they told about the dishes their mother would cook them each and every night, some you can even find on their menu to this day!
How beautiful are these tomatoes?
The saba had hints of cinnamon and ginger and really took this dish to the next level.
I loved how in between each course Chefs Carla and Christine came out and explained each dish and told us all about the local North End vendors they get they fresh products from. We had the opportunity to ask the chefs questions and hear more of their personal stories. It made for a really intimate dining experience!
While we listened we got to snack on a beautiful charcuterie board featuring prosciutto, mortadella, finocchiona salami, coppa, speck and served with Backyard Farms Vine Ripe Tomato Jam and bruschetta aglio e olio.
First of all, tomato jam is UNREAL! It had a flavor I wasn’t expecting and much similar to a jam you would make from a grape or berry.
The bruschetta was a potato based bread that has been in the chefs family over 100 years. It is starchier than most bruschettas because of the potato and held up really nicely topped with all of the charcuterie ingredients.
I was already getting stuffed but could not wait to try the spaghettini with Backyard Farms Cocktail Tomatoes, capers, olives and EVOO. Nothing beats hand-made pasta and the cocktail tomatoes added such a pop of flavor. I am usually not a fan of olives, especially in warm dishes, but these olives were outta this world. They were meatier than any I have ever tried and had a nice deep almost spicy flavor to them that paired really well with the acid from the tomatoes and capers.
Next came this beautiful dish of baby clams, finicchiona salami, ceci and Backyard Farms Cocktail Tomatoes. The clams are imported from Italy and the crusty bread topped with aioli was the perfect vehicle to sop up all of the flavorful broth and top with the tomatoes.
Put ricotta on any pizza and I’m all over it. So freakin good!
Get ready for some recipes featuring these beauties in the next week!
I want to thank Backyard Farms and NEBO for inviting me to this tasty and informative luncheon. I had so much fun learning all about the Somerset Pink tomato, meeting the team as well as Chefs Carla and Christine and getting to try these amazing dishes!