We wait all year for this moment in the garden, and finally, it’s here. The blackberries are still – still! – producing, if only barely. Between our neighbors next door and us, we’ve picked them pretty clean, though there will barely be a moment to be sad when their season has gone by because now, it is very officially tomato season.
Sure, we’ve been eating cherry tomatoes for weeks now. I’ve had more than my fair share, as they comprise much of my workday lunch, but the full-sized tomatoes have been a long time ripening. The cherries, Juliet, a plum tomato, and Red Currant, a small, sweet cherry, were purchased as seed starts from our favorite farm stand, but we’d been eagerly awaiting the tomatoes that we had started from seed, especially the Paul Robeson, a variety we had never had before, and which promised to be smoky in flavor.
Turns out, they are smoky and delicious. And the San Marzano tomatoes, started from Italian seed (though no longer technically San Marzano, or at least not DOP San Marzano, given that they’re grown way outside of the San Marzano zone), have gone gangbusters, as have the Rosso Siciliano and Japanese Trifele Black. As in years past, the Brandywine has produced less fruit than the others, but makes up for it in volume with giant fruit. I’ve started roasting tomatoes, and we’ve started purchasing burrata and locally-made fresh mozzarella pretty much in bulk. The pesto has already been made, of course, because, you know, we have a dozen basil plants (which I sometimes mistakenly call “pesto plants” – how fabulous would that be to yank a few jars of fresh pesto off of a plant in the garden?).
Earlier in the summer, my brother asked what my favorite flower was. “Peonies,” I said. Then I thought for a moment, “Or sunflowers.” Another pause and then, “Or zinnia.” Yet another moment of silence, then, “I do really love hydrangea. And globe thistle.”
“So you don’t actually have a favorite flower, then, do you,” he responded.
Fair enough. But each is perfect in its own moment, and so now, I have a tie for favorites: Sunflowers and zinnia. Who can blame me?
So how’s everything in your garden? Tomatoes much?