The Coast News Group
Columns Small Talk

Small Talk: Tomato heaven

My backyard is a mess, with cobwebs and dog-dug holes and such, but just now it is a very popular spot.

My husband’s ongoing fondness for planting odd, rare fruits and vegetables has been a source of mild amusement for me.

He is fascinated by microclimates and what he can coax into blooming in our somewhat sun-deprived, 5-miles-from-the-ocean backyard.

I have to admit, his success has been impressive.

I admit loquats, cheramoyas and the fruit of the Brazilian Jabuticaba, which grows grapes right on its branches, are interesting. But I don’t really want to eat them, and heaven knows I don’t want to can them.

I saw it all as a harmless hobby until he retired and produced avocadoes and now, the coup de gras, summer tomatoes. With the plucking of that first bright red gem, he became my hero.

I spent many summers yearning for friends with gardens to share their bounty with me in the summer.

You can’t convince me that store tomatoes are more than ghosts of a real tomato. I could probably find some good ones at the “I’ve-got-to-drive-all-the-way-there-and-find-parking” farmers markets, but even then it’s a guessing game.

Are you getting the idea that I am a very happy gardener’s wife just now? Oh, yes, indeed. As of about July 5, I need only walk out my back door to find gorgeous, vine-ripened tomatoes and it is bliss. This year’s crop is booming, so, yes, I have been sharing them far and wide with friends and family.

I shall not get too prideful about having such a bounty, because I have no idea when the overflowing cup may dry up. The hero gardener doesn’t remember what cultivar they are (he tends to switch it up every year), so I don’t know what their production schedule is.

I believe I will have to take a Br’er Rabbit attitude and just enjoy the heck out of them right now. Pass the bacon and mayo, please.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer gleefully slicing and dicing. Contact her at [email protected]

Leave a Comment