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Simply Summer

July 2020, and I feel like a bug in a bottle or  possibly, caught in a chrysalis. From inside my chrysalis, I see hollyhocks, zinnias  and hydrangea in bloom, leaves and twigs and grass, and I listen to news reporting on Covid19.  I’m   fearful  of this contagious and ravaging virus, and I hesitate to emerge from the safety of my chrysalis to fully engage in my work, with friends and our community.

A definition of chrysalis –  “a transitional state in which a metamorphose takes place,” and I ponder  the changes that may endure as I adapt to long term social distancing and withdrawal from the  community as I knew it.

At the same time, it’s helpful to remember times in my life that were really sweet, really wonderful, and often it’s a food experience.  I remember my mother’s homemade, salty crispy bread sticks, so good with a pat of butter.

I treasure memories of my long ago friend, Julie Hathaway when together we  tiptoed  through her father’s luxurious vegetable garden and picked  English peas, opening the pods with great care to see the pale green pearls  arranged 6 in a row.

We munched on the sweet  peas, and in the tomato row, we carefully placed our small hands around the warm, plump and vibrant red tomatoes although never plucking, knowing from a young age that tomatoes were serious food (Julie’s mother canned  60 qts. of tomatoes every summer).

Fresh from the vine tomato

Today I like remembering the magical garden and remembering  a time when I felt really happy and at home in the world.

Years later, I attempted to grow a garden similar to my childhood memories, and Julie sent me her Tomato Lucia recipe.

Lucia is derived from the Italian word meaning light.  I associate tomatoes with warm (hot) and often windy Nebraska  days, and  showers of sunlight.

Julie’s Lucia Tomatoes taste like summer – earthy,  juicy, savory and sweet.  A perfect compliment to  sun-ripened  Farmer’s Market tomatoes.

I reserve a place in my refrigerator for a ceramic  casserole filled with Lucia Tomatoes  from July to September.

I often toast a thin slice of sour dough bread and layer on a meaty slice of a Lucia tomato.  Invite Lucia Tomatoes to accompany your el fresco dining this summer.

If you have yet to taste the Back Alley Bakery sour dough bread baked in a wood-fired brick oven, visit the Back Alley Bakery in Hastings for a loaf   Http://   or in Nebraska order Backalley Bakery breads from Nebraska Food Coop


simply Summer




Lucia Tomatoes

A make ahead marinated appetizer and/or salad rich with a tomato's version of sunshine and bursting in fresh, juicy flavor
Course Salad
Cuisine American, Italian, Mediterranean
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings 4

What You'll Need:

  • 8 large tomatoes, garden fresh
  • 1 ½ Tb. Spicy Beer Mustard
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup chopped tender herbs (parsley, basil, chives) or only parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or shaved in your micro zester
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly crushed pepper

How To Prepare:

Lucia Tomatoes

  • Slice tomatoes in 1/2 inch thick rounds
  • Mix Spicy Beer Mustard and red wine vinegar in a 1 cup bowl
  • Drip the olive oil into the vinegar/mustard mixture blending into an emulsion
  • chop the tender herbs into a frizee or the level of coarseness that you like
  • dice or micro-grate the garlic and add to the dressing
  • Mix the herbs into the dressing
  • add the salt and grind the pepper and blend all ingredients
  • Place tomatoes in a glass or enamel container
  • Pour the dressing over the tomato slices, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 or more days
  • Serve on a plate with a sprig of basil and slice of toasted sour dough bread


Lucia Tomatoes



Welcome to the Nebraska Prairie Museum in Holdrege, a recent addition to our exclusive retail businesses  that feature the Buzz Savories line.

Stroll through  the Nebraska Prairie Museum collections including a church, school and farmhouse built in the late 1800’s along with actual machines and items employed in  farm work, household, business,  entertainment and art of the immigrants who arrived on this prairie grassland with nothing but hope and a vision, and where they built and cooked and sewed and manufactured lifestyles and a community that endure today. See photos of the displays and original buildings of the early settlers at

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address:  2701 Burlington, Holdrege, NE 68949

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