Saturday, November 7, 2009

Wow! It's November 7 and it's still tomato season in my garden!
To be honest, I don't go out there every day like I do in the middle of summer. I know we're nearing the end of the season. With the sun lower in the sky and the hill behind us I find that one of my original, large beds doesn't begin to get sun until two in the afternoon. Whether I water the plants or the overnight moisture does the ground barely has a chance to dry out. I still have an abundance of flowers on the plants and some have quite a few green tomatoes. They're not ripening quickly, and in fact, some are rotting from the moisture rather than ripening. Then there are the squirrels - they're multiplying in number and have become incredibly blatant about helping themselves to my fruit.

I find it all to be more than a little depressing. When the sun goes away it seems to take some of my spirit with it. I try to plan for next season, making lists of the varieties I'll grow again and researching some I've never tried. I think about growing winter vegetables but they just don't have the same tug on my heartstrings that heirloom tomatoes do.

Today, the sun smiled down upon me and gave me one more reason to hold onto my happy tomato thoughts...I decided to walk out back before getting started with the day's activities. Visiting the tomatoes barefoot and in my pajamas has given way to a bathrobe and tennis shoes but it still warms my heart just the same.

I can always count on Sungold Cherry to give me sweet as candy treats. Jenny still provides smaller orange pearls of fruit. Neves Azorean Red doesn't seem to care that it's November and there are six very large tomatoes trying to ripen before the evening temperatures drop too low, or the squirrels make a meal out of them first. Jetsetter continues to produce beautiful red tomatoes that look more like apples than tomatoes. And just when I was heading back to the house I discovered a beautiful Kellogg's Breakfast tomato staring at me. Ignoring the fact that a squirrel enjoyed a bite before I could get to it I happily cut it off the plant and brought it inside!

It may have been seven o'clock in the morning but I just had to make this gorgeous surprise my breakfast. It did not disappoint! Even after removing the side that the squirrel ate I had a rather large tomato to enjoy. The outer edges were a bit crunchy, which I didn't really mind. It was somewhat crisp, like an apple, but I prefer crisp and firm to soft or mealy. The center of this tomato was meaty and just firm enough but not hard. It was juicy and flavorful and so incredibly delicious. It was a happy beginning to my day.

Several friends came by today and each had to come into the kitchen to taste a bite of my November surprise. Sitting here now, I see that there are still two bites left...I guess I know what I'll be having as a bedtime snack!

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