SAME TIME NEXT YEAR
"It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato."
~ Lewis Grizzard
Our first home was in Eastern Washington where the sun shines and the summers are hot. We had a nice size garden and each spring I would come home with two pony packs of tomatoes: six Early Girl and six Big Boy. I would plant them deep, burying all the leaves but the top set, water them and watch them grow.
The first tomatoes would show up in early August (if the tomato worms did not get them.) They were the size of baseballs and I could not get enough of them. We would eat them with every meal, warm from the sun. By mid-September I would have canned quarts and quarts of them, given them away to friends and family and secretely wished for them to stop producing. I felt guilty if I headed out to the garden and saw that they were beyond ripe, hopelessly hanging on the vine or worse yet, rotting on the soil. I would pick them, bring them in and put them in a zip-lock bag and place them in the freezer, hoping for the best. Soon I just would stay clear of the garden.
Once we moved to Western Washington I tried everything to grow just one nice tomato plant. I grew them under cover, in pots, tried early varieties and treasured the few pieces of fruit I would manage to get each year. Finally I gave up, giving over the garden space to things that were more productive like broccoli or winter squash or green beans.
But we have a place. A place in town where they bring tomatoes over from Yakima. Big huge Early Girl and Beefsteak tomatoes; the kind I remember. The kind I love. Every few days I head down there and return with a huge bag full and line them up on the butcher block in our kitchen. Anticipating their goodness.
This is my favorite way of eating them. Toast, Best Food mayo, thick slices of tomato, salt, pepper and nothing more. No bacon, no egg, no cheese, no lettuce. Simplicity at its best.
I will be sad to see the season end; but also understand maybe that is what makes the whole concoction so amazing and so perfect. Same time next year I think each time I make lunch; hoping there still might be some at the stand for a few more weeks yet. Dreading the day I pull up and see that the tomatoes are done for the season.
hope your week is moving along well and wondering what it is you will hate to see go with the change of the seasons. . .