Farmers Market Salsa Showdown

Salsa ShowdownFarmers markets: we’ve told you where to find them, why to shop them, and how to meal plan around what you find there. Many have special events and activities to help create a community around the farmers market. At the USU Botanical Center Farmers Market, there is a children’s activity each week, and some sort of free, special event. Some weeks they have Aggie Ice Cream tasting, other weeks a cooking demonstration. This week, on August 31, they’ll be having a salsa showdown. Check it out Thursday— you can bring your best salsa to enter, or just come and sample the different entries. Can’t come on Thursday? Use those garden fresh tomatoes and try one of these recipes from the 2016 Salsa Showdown.


Fresh Tomato Salsa

Recipe by Shawn Olsen


  • 6-8 ripe tomatoes, diced (approximately 5 cups)
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 Anaheim or Big Jim pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons vinegar
  • Up to 1/4 cup salsa seasoning mix (Mrs. Wages or Ball Fiesta Salsa)


In a large bowl, combine diced tomato and cucumber. Remove seeds from pepper, and chop finely. Add pepper, onion, cilantro and vinegar to tomato and cucumber, and mix well. Add salsa seasoning, to taste. Start with a small amount of seasoning, taste salsa, and add more if desired. Store in refrigerator.


Fresh Peach-Mango Medley Salsa

Recipe by Shelley Ekman


  • 1 cup diced peaches, skin removed
  • 1 cup diced mango, skin removed
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 1 cup diced Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup diced Berns yellow pear tomatoes
  • 3 bell peppers, seeded and diced (red, yellow, and orange)
  • 3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lime juice


Place all diced fruit, vegetables and cilantro in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients with a whisk, and pour over salsa. Stir to combine, and adjust seasoning and vinegar to taste. Store in refrigerator.

Garden Tomato Salsa

Salsa Graphic

Did you know Live Well Utah sends out a weekly newsletter? Each week we feature a list of quick tips, a recipe and an article — all sent directly to your inbox! Today we’re sharing a salsa recipe from a recent newsletter. If you like what you see, sign up to receive the newsletter here.


Summer is drawing to an end, but gardens are in full-swing production this time of year. If you find your countertops overflowing with red, ripe tomatoes, try this fresh salsa recipe to put them to good use. Don’t have your own garden tomatoes? Check out our Farmers Market Roundup to find local produce near you!


Garden Tomato Salsa


* 4-5 medium or large tomatoes

* 1/2 red onion

* 1 jalapeno

* 1 medium avocado

* 1 can corn

* 1 can black beans

* 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro

* juice of 2-3 limes

* salt to taste

 Finely dice tomatoes, onion, jalapeno and avocado, and add to a large bowl. Omit jalapeno ribs and seeds for milder salsa. Drain and rinse corn and beans, and add to bowl. Chop cilantro and add to bowl, along with lime juice and salt, to taste. Expert tip: use scissors to quickly snip up cilantro. Enjoy with chips, as a topping on chicken or fish, or on a southwestern-style salad.


5 Easy Tips for Indoor Gardening


These tips will help you keep your gardening skills sharp all winter long!

Moving the Party Inside

Many people miss having fresh garden produce in the winter so much that they are willing to grow it indoors. This can be a little challenging, but having fresh tomatoes on a sandwich or fresh peas on a winter salad makes it worth the effort.

Growing plants in a greenhouse is an option for providing winter produce, but heating and lighting can be expensive. A more cost-effective method is to provide additional lighting and optimal temperatures and grow plants in the home. Consider these tips.

1) Location – West or south-facing windows provide sufficient light for many crops. Another option is to use inexpensive florescent lights placed approximately 6 inches from the plants. Incandescent bulbs should not be used since the wavelengths of the light they produce are not readily used by plants. Grow lights are an option, but they do not work any better than florescent bulbs and are more expensive.

2) Temperature – A good temperature for most plants is around 70 F. Some gardeners have attempted to grow plants in an unheated garage during the winter with no success. This is not surprising since the garage acts as a natural refrigerator in the winter.

3) Soil – Potting soil works best for indoor growing and is available from many local retailers. Once plants have been growing for about a month, they often require fertilizer to keep them healthy. Mild, liquid houseplant formulations or slow-release granular products such as Osmocote™ are good choices.

4) Pests and disease – Monitor plants closely for insect pests and disease. When a plant appears to be infested, isolate it from the others to prevent further spread. Heavily infested plants should be thrown away.

5) Vegetable choices – Lettuce, peas and many herbs generally do well when grown indoors. Dwarf varieties of peas or other crops are often preferred since regular varieties may grow too large for limited indoor spaces. Dwarf varieties can be found from seed companies online and sometimes from local retailers.

The USU Crop Physiology Lab has specifically researched growing crops in indoor spaces and has identified several “super dwarf” species that work well, including Early Green Pea and Microtina Tomato. These varieties and others have actually been grown aboard the International Space Station.

This article was written by Taun Beddes, Utah State University Extension horticulturist, 801-851-8460, taun.beddes@usu.edu

Be a Hero! // 5 Tips for Saving Garden Seeds

Saving Garden Seeds

Be a gardening hero by learning how to save your own garden seeds!

A Seed Saved is a Seed Earned

Have you ever saved your own seeds? If you haven’t, now is the time to try it! Saving seeds has a ton of great benefits for you and your garden. Here are some of the reasons you should try saving seeds:

1. Money Savings. Saving seeds means saving money. Free things are always better!
2. Regional Adaptation. Crops grown in your own soil will produce seeds that will thrive in your environments. Commercially purchased seeds will be less acclimated to the soil and conditions of your garden.
3. Seed Security. If you save your own seeds, you know exactly what you can plant next season. Large corporations have consolidated the seed industry to focus more on hybrids. When you save your own seeds, you control the supply.
4. Consistent Quality. Commercial companies often sacrifice quality to remain competitive on price. Saving your own seeds ensures that the seeds you will use next season are top quality.

To help you get started, hop on over to the Organic Forecast to find 5 essential tips for collecting and storing garden seeds!

Which fruits and veggies are you looking forward to saving this year?


The Organic Forecast
Mother Earth News

Resource Roundup – Problems with Tomatoes

problems with tomatoes and solutions - LivewellUtah.org


We’ve rounded up the resources that will give you the tips and advice you might be looking for to help your tomato crop be more successful this year. From splits, spots and more get clicking and pinning to find the information you need!

solutions for cracked tomatoes - livewellutah.org


Ever have a problem with tomatoes cracking along the top? The Salt Lake County USU Extension office blog called The Organic Forecast addressed this issue. They say, ” Cracks or splits can happen in tomatoes either in a circular pattern (concentric) or they may radiate out from the stem. Tomatoes crack when the skin of the tomato does not stretch enough to accommodate growth or internal pressure.” They list the 2 main reasons for cracking is irrigation practices and pruning. Find out a few different ways to prevent it by clicking over HERE.

how do my tomoatoes get spots - LiveWellUtah.org


The Organic Forecast blog says, “Although rare because here in Utah, are climate is not humid and moist much of the time, we still can be affected by tomato bacterial spot… The pathogen that causes this disease may be introduced to a field on infected seeds or transplants. It can then survive up to a year on plant debris that was infected the prior year. The pathogen becomes active once temperatures heat to the 80s and 90s, and when several hours of moist conditions occur.” So what do you do about it? Click over to find out some simple tricks to getting rid of it.

tomato diseases - Livewellutah.org


Have you ever wondered why your tomatoes were spotty in color? The Utah PESTS identifies 3 different types of viruses that can affect parts of Utah – spotted wilt virus, Late blight and early blight. Click over to their article HERE for all the information.

 curly top tomotoes - Livewellutah.org


Commonly found affecting several different types of plants, tomatoes are not exception. Utah Pests has the symptoms, disease cycle information, management and more .

Want more information about Tomatoes? There is a great free publication listing best varieties to plant, soil prep, mulching, rows, FAQ’s, etc. Also, pop over to the TOMATO search on the USU Site.