You say “tomayto”, I say “tomahto”…no matter how you pronounce it they are delicious at this time of year! I think that most of us would agree that there is nothing that can take the place of a vine ripened field tomato, preferably still warm from the summer sun. Tomatoes along with their side kick, fresh basil, just scream SUMMER!
I had my first tomato of the season in late July plucked from a miserable looking little plant (it hasn’t been an overly wonderful tomato year). I was weeding the herb garden when I came upon the little fruit. I just couldn’t resist. I picked it, inhaled its’ distinctive aroma (Chef Patrick and I share a love of the aroma of the actual tomato plant) and popped it into my mouth complete with a little garnish of dirt! WOW, what a burst of flavour. A party in my mouth. Since then, I have enjoyed innumerable toasted bacon and tomato sandwiches –yes, I admit to using “Wonderbread” and Miracle Whip on them. I have had dinner made up of some sweet heirloom tomatoes and avocado, sliced and sprinkled with fleur de sel and then drizzled with a nice Balsamic vinegar (jealously guarded for just a moment such as this) and our extra virgin olive oil – Louianna (we carry it in the winery — coincidentally, it hails from the same village that Chef Pasto’s family came from in Italy). No summer would be complete without my tomatoes à la jilted lover (see my blog “lovers may come and go…). Can eating in the summer get any easier?
This Sunday, we are celebrating the tomato at The Good Earth with our good friend and “tomato lady” Linda Crago of Tree and Twig Heirloom Vegetable farm. Linda is my supplier…of heriloom tomatoes. Late in the winter we start the discussion about what tomatoes I liked last year and what new varieties she might recommend. Then in the spring, when the fear of a late spring frost is gone (I once lost all my seedlings over the Victoria Day weekend to frost!), I take a lovely drive out into the coutryside to visit Linda and pick up my seedlings. We visit a little, as we country folk are wont to say, exchange gossip and tips and then part ways until the next spring.
Mother Nature is surely an artist as one looks at a box of heirloom tomatoes is all their different shapes, patterns and colours. Not always the prettiest — and prone to fruit flies for those are finickety, they are so sweet, so flavourful that they are addictive. Linda will be on hand on Sunday to offer samples of various varieties — we’ll try to pick a favourite. Best of all, Linda will be be selling some of her famed tomatoes and seeds. Meet Linda, and you quickly understand that she has the same passion for what she does as we do for The Good Earth.
Chef Patrick has been busy all week oven drying and smoking tomatoes which will be for sale in the pantry shed freezer. I have been busy making the first few batches of sweet tomato jam — yes, you heard right – jam. They are a fruit after all. The bistro menu will have a tomato theme.
Whether you say “tomayto” or “tomahto”…won’t matter at all. Just come on down and treat yourself to one of summer’s greatest gifts…a pomodoro, pomme d’amour, a perfectly ripe tomato!