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Want to try growing your own tomatoes this year? Get tips from Urvashi from her trip to a Spanish tomato farm and discover how to make delicious gazpacho with them.

First published in 2015
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I’ve tried growing tomatoes every year for the last 5 years. Very little success. They grow. They go green and then never ripen or indeed they ripen but taste of rather little, let alone tomato. So when I was invited to Spain to learn about how tomatoes are grown over there, I was packed and ready in a flash!

My visit was to a farm called Clisol which has been a family business for generations. It’s now run by the inspiring and energetic Lola Gómez Ferrón. She started “farming” when she was just a toddler. Her job would be to push a broomstick along the polytunnel which would shake the rain off. Since then she’s been obsessed not only with growing them but also teaching people like me about how she grows them. It’s very different to anything I’d ever seen before.

Firstly she uses no insecticides or pesticides on her crops but rather a system called biological pollination which uses bees. For pest control she buys insects which eat the insects she doesn’t want in her environment and so it’s all a natural cycle.

Her method is used across 2.2 hectares of land much of which is covered in polytunnels, which not only protect from the wind but also automatically adjust the vents to allow air in when the environment becomes too warm.

Lola says the best way to eat tomatoes to absorb their nutritional values is completely raw sprinkled with olive oil and salt. This was delicious but I had another very tasty tomato dish when I was out in Spain that I know I will make again and again. Gazpacho. I have never been able to palate this because I don’t like the idea of cold soup, but in the Spanish heat with a glass of local red wine it was truly magnificent.





To make it couldn’t be simpler. Put all the ingredients into a blender and blitz until there are no lumps. You could then be a purist and sieve the mixture to remove any further lumps but I didn’t bother as I like it almost dip like
Pour the mixture into a bowl and chill overnight if possible. The longer the better. Serve in small glasses drizzled with a little of the olive oil
First published in 2015

Urvashi finds food, baking, cooking and eating a therapeutic relief from every day work and family life.

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