Ode to the Summer “Home” Tomato
After finally deciding that my children were old enough this year to give a little attention to a vegetable garden I spent a few cold winter nights last year poring over seed catalogs while bundled under my down comforter. My two favorite catalogs that I ended up ordering from this year were: Nichols Garden Nursery and Le Jardin du Gourmet. Le Jardin was especially fun because they have “sampler” packets you can order for only 35 cents each which have enough seeds for a postage stamp garden like mine but allowed me to order to my hearts content without breaking the bank (because those seeds do add up quickly, let me tell you). We constructed new boxes out front (the only place we get any decent amount of sun) and I ordered and started seeds last spring. And now it is all growing and ripening!
This is what I’m growing in my garden this year: Tomatoes- Stupice, Currant, Yellow Pear, Marmade; Cucumbers: Lemon and Vert Petit de Paris; Marvel of Venice Pole Bean; Summer Squash: White Scallop and Ronde de Nice; Queensland Blue Pumpkins; Melons: Charentais, Crane, Moon and Stars Watermelon; Herbs: Basil, Parsley, Sage, Mint, Thyme; Bell Peppers (can’t remember which ones- purple I think). The only thing that hasn’t “fruited” are the bell peppers (flowers though- could be promising) and the melon plants (again, flowers only). But otherwise much better success then I expected. The cucumbers have not done so well, but they got so over shadowed by the squash and tomato plants it’s really not a wonder.
The other day I picked the first heirloom slicing tomato. The currant (a cherry type) and the stupice (a small salad tomatos) had already been coming in slowly, but they were nothing compared to that one (Marmade I believe). This one oozed flavor (and seeds and juice all over my counter!). Acidic and full of flavor- biting but sweet. Slice, eat. Slice, eat. Gone. I ate the whole thing. Did not share it.
Tonight, Ian and I picked some more. They are all coming ripe at once. We filled 2 times over the the metal strainer I’d brought out front with us. Tomatoes, some beans, and a hiding lemon cucumber. I also found 4 lonely strawberries still good for eating, but those barely made it inside. We shared some tomatoes with our neighbors and then came back and found some more. Ian ate some and was so happy that he could just eat them when he wanted- no strings attached. I picked and hunted through the overgrown plants smelling their sweet scent. The smell of sun and summer. (A smell that lingers- sticks in your hair, so that later your husband will comment on it as you lie in his arms talking.) The garden is a bit neglected as we’ve been in and out of town so much in the last month, but the tomatoes don’t seem to have minded!
Since we ate an early dinner around 4 o’clock, I made the kids an evening snack of scrambled eggs and tomatoes. “More, can I have more tomatoes?”, they asked. Between the three of us we gobbled up 8 or so of the stupice. “Mmmm.,” Thea hummed as she ate. “Are these ‘home’ tomatoes, Momma?” she asked.
Yes indeed. Home tomatoes.