“It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.”Lewis Grissard
As a child growing up in a bucolic setting on Shoemaker Hill in central New York State, our family’s garden was the main summer activity. We spent the entire time planting, watering, weeding and picking the beans, cucumbers, squash, peas and more. It was a lot of work, but it always paid off. The land was fertile and I don’t ever remember having a bad harvest.
Among my favorite crop yields were the tomatoes. This versatile fruit has been the focal point for a wide range of our family dinners. My Sicilian-American mother crafted soups, sauces, appetizers, sandwiches and side dishes with skill. Money was tight, but she could transform a piece of toasted bread with her homemade tomato sauce, sprinkled with shaker cheese, into a gourmet meal.
Fast forward a few decades and I am happy to announce that home-grown tomatoes are still a staple of my diet, right here on the St. Lawrence River! I am lucky that my husband (Steve) enjoys gardening and has a particular passion for growing heirloom tomatoes.
Not Always Popular!
Originating in the Andes, probably Peru, the Conquistadors brought them back to Europe in the 1500s. But they did not find immediate popularity. They were mistakenly thought to be poisonous.
Eventually they found their way to Central and North America. But this was long after the tomato was widely used in Europe.
Not everyone can eat tomatoes. They belong to the night shade family, and some people are sensitive to chemicals in them, mainly tomatine. For a deep dive on the night shade vegetables, here is an informative article posted on the Dr. Axe site, authored by Ethan Boldt:
Steve’s 2022 Varieties
The house is filled with the intoxicating aroma of stewed tomatoes with celery, onion and Italian seasonings.
Steve’s home-canned tomato juice, served chilled, is a welcome addition to any Sunday brunch. Add vodka and a few other simple ingredients, and you have a very flavorful Bloody Mary.
“At the end of the day, you can’t compete with Mother Nature. If you’ve got a great tomato, just a pinch of sea salt is all you need.”Zac Posen
I look forward to tomato season every year, and this year did not disappoint. I hope you are enjoying tomato season as well.
Thank you for reading! – Barb, the River Blogger (Btrb)
Feel free to reblog anything I post. I welcome all comments and discussion.