Swaddled in a Bed of Fresh Basil (the biggest success in the garden this year)
Realization of the Day:
It's always a good idea to download your photo and check to see if it's in focus before gobbling up the subject in a fit of uncontrollable excitement.
When I was growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area suburbs, our neighbor across the street always planted a big backyard vegetable garden, which we were sometimes called upon to water while he and his family took their summer vacation. A few years ago my foodie mom (aka Queen of the 100% Whole Grain Bran Muffins) and I were talking about ripening tomatoes in the garden, and she said, "Well you know what Mr. C. always used to say, don't you? That his first tomatoes were always ripe on August 1st. 'It doesn't matter when I plant them, it's always August 1st,' he'd tell me. 'I can plant my tomatoes on the last day of July, and I'll still have ripe tomatoes on August 1st.'" This cracked me up.
The 20th of August is definitely a ripe tomato record for me—I've never had to wait this long, and for just one tomato at that. And I thought last year's handful of ripe cherry tomatoes picked on August 17th was pathetic. But considering that my sorry little seedlings didn't go into the ground until June 17th, it's really not that bad.
I can't remember what variety this is (why does it seem like I make the most detailed notes about the plants that end up dying?), but I do know it's my favorite kind—ready to eat. Of course it was delicious.
For various reasons, most of my tomato plants have not been doing all that well, but I do have quite a few green tomatoes in various shapes and sizes out on the vines. Despite it being the end of August (and a blissfully invigorating 50 degrees this morning!), I'm hopeful; last summer I was harvesting ripe tomatoes into October.
Strange spring and summer weather has meant a bad year for both commercial and backyard tomato crops across the country, and then there are all the plants decimated by blight. My friend Jen at FarmAid (a fabulous organization whose annual fundraising concert is being held in St. Louis this year!) told me last month that her CSA farm was getting ready to pull up 4,000 tomato plants because of blight. Closer to home, my Amish neighbor said his first early tomato planting basically flooded from all our spring rain (which was very nice in some ways but terrible in others). Fortunately his later plantings did better (though not nearly as well as last year), and I've been getting my ripe tomato fix from his front yard produce stand.
Fast Farm Summer Food—Perfect for Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner
One of my favorite ways to celebrate summer's tomato bounty is by making BLTs. We had the first ones of the season for dinner last week (on freshly baked Farmhouse White of course), and they were so good we had them again for dinner the next night. I've always loved cream cheese and tomato sandwiches, which I ate on toasted English muffins when I was a kid and on homemade crusty baguettes now. The best cream cheese and tomato sandwiches I've ever eaten were the little ones I made with Italian Olive Cheek Rolls from Daniel Leader's wonderful book, Local Breads, but the open-faced sandwich pictured above on toasted slices of Honey Bran Whole Wheat was pretty darn wonderful, too.
So how are your tomatoes doing this year? Any new favorites? What about failures? And don't forget to tell us where you're located!
Do you have an abundance of ripe tomatoes in your garden? (Oh, I remember those years well!) Here are some of my most popular tomato recipes you might enjoy:
Homemade Tomato Vegetable Juice
Quick & Easy Gazpacho
Fresh Tomato Pizza Sauce
Fiesta Cottage Cheese Veggie Dip (and Factory Tours)
Savory Tomato Pesto Pie with an Easy Biscuit Crust
Fresh Tomato & Basil Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread
Tomato Pesto Pizza, My Basil Pesto Recipe, & A Simple Tomato Salad
Three No-Cook Summer Recipes: Mexican Jumping Bean Slaw, Easy Vegetarian Tacos, & High Kickin' Tomato Dressing
Cream Cheese & Tomato Sandwiches On Italian Black Olive Cheeks
The Easiest Greek Salad Ever
My Seven Second Tomato Glut Solution
Saving the Harvest with No Sugar Green Tomato Relish
How to Freeze Tomatoes the Really Easy Way
© 2009 FarmgirlFare.com, the slowly ripening foodie farm blog where anticipation doesn't just apply to ketchup.