Archive for August, 2009

Tomatoes Homegrown

August 31, 2009

You might know that country ditty by Guy Clark “Homegrown Tomatoes.” The chorus goes:

Homegrown tomatoes homegrown tomatoes,
What’d life be without homegrown tomatoes,
Only two things that money can’t buy,
That’s true love & homegrown tomatoes.

If ever there’s a time to be bullish about growing vegetables at home, tomatoes are that time; if there’s ever a time to be arrogant about fresh vegetables, homegrown tomatoes are that time. But here’s the rub: if all you grow are Big Boys and their commercial ilk, you still won’t know that time.

The only way to get Guy Clark’s comparison is to grow some so-called Heirloom varieties. I have a bush of Cherokee Purples that are producing nice large fruit with a rich and intense flavor that is wonderful, but there are many others that are just as good.  Here’s a pile of them from my bushes and my neighbors’, along with a few other standards. The big one on the right is the Cherokee Purple.  If you grow one Heirloom variety, try that one:

Summer Vegetables

I picked the first ripe one for the season, sliced it, and dressed it with some EVOO, some good balsamic vinegar, some basil (Italian and Holy), and some fresh black pepper. No salt. My friend Joan and I ate a plate of them, and the taste was orgasmic. It reminded us both of what fresh means.  Later I had some at my friends John and Mark’s house with Mozz and bruschetta.  Then again at my house with cukes and dill and green onion, and yet again just alone with basil.  What’d summer be without ’em?

Fresh Tomatoes and Basil

Tomato and Mozz on bruschetta

Tomatoes and Cuke salad

Fresh does not mean the opposite of frozen. In this case, it means these tomatoes served as simply as possible, as we did at first. Fresh means you pick your zucchini, slice it, and grill it within an hour after it was picked. Fresh means you pick some golden raspberries of a kind that are too fragile to ship, and throw them on some homemade waffles.
I’m growing my tomatoes in barrels and planters this year.  At their size now, they require watering and tending every day; I can’t go on a day’s vacation without fear they’ll dry out or get knocked over by a wind or storm.

Tomato in barrel

That’s true love & homegrown tomatoes.