“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.
While reading through this amazing post, I remember the tomato sauce my mom prepared one evening. It’s super tasty 🥰
Thank you, Davidson. I visited your WordPress site. It’s very informative!
It’s my pleasure dear🥰
Love our garden tomatoes as well!
Homegrown tomatoes are much tastier than the ones you can buy in a grocery store. Your husband has quite the green thumb. I’m impressed at all the different varieties he grows. I tried growing tomatoes for the first time this year. They turned out pretty well and I’m making plans to expand my garden for next year.
You can’t go wrong with tomatoes! This year’s crop really did not do as well as in the past. We have a bit of early blight going on, but we still had a fairly good season. We are very lucky to be a U.S. border town with Ontario and we are able to get some delicious heirlooms from Canada, year round!
Thank you for sharing your mouth-watering tomatoes with us. Just looking at your photos and reading your recipes makes me hungry for homegrown tomatoes. Enjoy!
Thank you, Tanja!
Wow! Yummy looking tomatoes!! From one Siciliana to another (my Grandpa came from Sicily and my Grandma was first generation Sicilian/American, both on my mother’s side. 🙂
My grandfather came from Sicily and my grandmother was first generation on my mother’s side as well! We have a lot in common!
Some of my happiest childhood memories were of staying at my Sicilian grandparents house! Many, many happy times. And lots of cooking and, yes, tomatoes!!
OMG your tomatoes look so gooood. I love tomatoes just give me a slice of Italian bread, with butter a slice of tomato a little salt and pepper and I’m in heaven. xo
Thank you! I’m with you on that tomato sandwich!
Started my first raised garden this year! Tomatoes are a must and starting to enjoy many! Must try a different variety next year! 🍅🍅
You will not regret growing your own tomatoes!
I ate a lot of tomato sandwiches growing up. Loved them.
What’s not to love! 🍅💙🍅
I will grow them next year. Choice of varieties yet to be considered. I can’t eat them myself. In any form. Love them but very intolerant on my body’s systems all round. Thanks for the information regarding the nightshade reason. Understand possibly why now. Great post as ever. Cheers.
Thank you, Gray Summers!
I can eat tomatoes in one way or fashion at every single meal!! YUMMY They do not grow well here in the south west TOO DANG HOT The plants won’t set fruit if it is above 96 degrees for any length of time. Sometimes if I start in February I can get some before it gets too hot. This year was a total bust
Loving tomatoes is in our genes! That and wine! 🍷🍅🍷
I love tomatoes 🍅
I agree with that opening quote! I enjoyed your history on the origin of tomatoes. I am enjoying some in my garden!
Thank you! Enjoy! 🍅🍅🍅
I love your post about growing vegetables, I grow everything and fruits too. Anything with tomatoes gets my vote. As Romans wrote on the obelisk:
“Who plants garden, plants happiness.”
Thank you, Joanna! I love that quote! 🍅💕
Oh, the memories! I can smell her delicious tomato sauce as we speak, may she Rest In Peace. ❤️
35+ quarts so far and the tomatoes are still coming in. Cucumbers have also had a great year and I’m stocked up on pickles. I’ve got green beans canned and frozen and potatoes and eggplants dehydrated. It’s been a stellar year for gardening here in Michigan. We will eat good throughout the winter. 🙂
Wow! Great job! We had a bit of a rough season this year, but we still managed to get a fair crop in. But nothing like yours! Good job!