Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Summer bounty

Here’s what I can’t wait for: This year’s heirloom tomatoes.

I am a FIEND for tomatoes, and I’m incredibly picky about them. No hothouse varieties, no whiteness inside, no blackened or green seeds, and they shouldn’t make noise when you slice them (wintertime tomats, picked in Mexico or someplace and shipped up here while still green, can sound like apples being cut — urgh). Sometimes I cave, desperate in January, and buy the least-objectionable-looking one at the Schmafeway for to go on my bacon sandwich. It is always, always a terrible disappointment. No flavor, wrong bad texture, yucko.

But in the summer — ohhhh, kids, the summer. Round about mid-July where I’m from, those dark-red fatties start appearing on tables everywhere, sliced and salted as a side dish, or cut up in pico de gallo, or loaded onto hamburgers and BLTs … dude, I just drooled.

The saddest thing about the house I live in now is that its microclimate can’t really sustain tomats. Tomats are so easy to grow in the right climate — as long as you don’t let them dry out completely, they thrive on scorching, full sun. And that’s exactly the problem with my place: cold and foggy all “summer” long, goddammit. I always do plant a few tomats, and they do produce — we had ripe ones into early December, if you can believe that, from the one sad, neglected-looking vine that was left — but my home tomats are always thick-skinned, small, and tough. Flavorful, but tough.

So I buy heirloom tomats from this farmers’ market grocery a couple of doors down from my local ghetto-ass Schmafeway; last year, they started ridiculously early (late May, maybe? Early June?) and were mumble dollars a pound. What’s that, you say? How many dollars a pound? Mr. Gleemonex, skip over this part, OK? (They were $8.99/lb.) And I BOUGHT THE HELL OUT OF THEM. Nearly every day, I’d stop by, get a beautiful red-and-orange striped, or watermelon-green-striped, or bright honkin yellow, or purply-black, or red-purply tomat or two, take it home, slice it, salt it, toast some bread, smear bread generously with mayo, put it all together and chow that sammy down.
OK, just drooled again. I gotta get this under control.
So, seriously — I am DYING for this year’s crop to start coming in (they do get less expensive later in the summer!). If you live where they grow well, do yourself a favor — plant some. And if you have the means, track these suckers down and eat them while they’re in season.
Life is too short to eat crappy tomatoes.

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Blogger bgirl said...

Yeah, I fell for the "on the vine" trick at the supermarket last weekend - tasted like sawdust. Can't wait for the good stuff my neighbor grows (that sounds a bit illicit!).
Oh, also, the little grape tomatoes are TASTY year round, if that helps.

6:35 AM  
Blogger Gleemonex said...

You ever eat those things, straight off the vine in a sunny garden? [dies happy]

9:03 AM  
Blogger Gleemonex said...

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9:03 AM  

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