Bottled Bloody Mary mixes are generally not an impressive lot, so you’re excused if you think the headline on this post is a bit of hyperbole.
We came across Toigo Orchards’ Birth of Pain Bloody Mary Mix at the greenmarket on Ninth Avenue at 57th Street last Saturday. The ingredient list — fresh tomatoes, vinegar, horseradish, Worcestershire, Scotch bonnet chiles, lemon juice, onion, and garlic — was encouraging, mainly because the farm grows most of those items itself.
Toigo Orchards is located in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, and it’s a family-run, 450-acre farm that’s been in continuous operation since the 1700s. The farm produces fruit of all sorts, like apples, peaches, berries, and tomatoes, and vegetables like peppers and cucumbers.
The tomatoey mix glugs out of the bottle thickly, bits of black pepper and horseradish suspended within. It tastes of the best summer tomatoes, sweet-savory and bright, plus a huge, fruity wallop of Scotch bonnet heat. (Although calling it “Birth of Pain” is a bit of hyperbole.) It’s so tasty you’ll want to drink it straight, even without vodka’s added bonus. You could even pour it into bowls, garnish it with diced cucumber, and call it gazpacho.
Birth of Pain is available for $7.50 at the Saturday Ninth Avenue Greenmarket or on Toigo Orchards’ website.