We've been gone a week, and even though we asked our neighbors to help themselves to the veggies, we came home to an estimated 80-90 pounds of tomatoes to harvest. This picture was taken after we had already given some away! We sliced some for eating on the spot, made tomato sauce and handed out the rest. We are at the peak now, but we'll be easily harvesting 50 pounds a week through August before it tapers off.
Yesterday I took a bucket full to church to set out, they were gone in record time. The Fellowship Committee takes turns serving a light lunch to the congregation after the last service. People bring in their excess backyard produce to share. Lemons, apricots, peaches, cucumbers and tomatoes are highly sought after!
The tomatoes here are all heirloom varieties and are grown completely organic. We start them from seed in January in a greenhouse my husband and son built 20 years ago. This year I was timid to start the seeds because of our drought. In the spring we bought nursery center plants when we heard rationing was not going to be as restrictive as we had feared. We are growing half as many plants as we did last year and are able to cut down on our water consumption quite a bit. We have a good sized sunny plot in our back yard that we have designated as our vegetable garden. We both have a lot of time and love to putter in the garden tending the flowers and the vegetables, but the tomatoes have really become my husband's domain. He takes great pride in choosing the seed varieties but let's me get them started. Once they are ready for planting outdoors he takes over. He will spend at least an hour a day with them, but once the tomatoes are harvested he leaves the rest to me. We are happy with sliced tomatoes and salt, but there's always sauce to be made.
If you've never made homemade tomato sauce, my recipe will leave you swooning. And it's by far the easiest way to make it, and I know, I've tried dozens of ways. Here's the recipe: Homemade Roasted Tomato Sauce.
|Clockwise from top left, Kellogg's Breakfast, Black Krim, Old German, Pink Brandywine. This platter is enormous and the slices from 4 tomatoes barely fit! The largest slices are 7" across.|
|We are growing two cherry tomatoes this year, the tiny and sweet Sun Gold, also Black Cherry.|
|See my greenhouse at the end? I love it.|
|This beaut is a Giant Belgium.|
|We ended up with 9 quarts of the best flavored tomato sauce. My husband sat and ate a bowl of it as I was making it.|
My recipe for Homemade Roasted Tomato Sauce.
Here are a few tomatoes we won't be without:
We are crazy over the enormous orange Kellogg's Breakfast.
Our favorite black heirloom is Black Krim.
We wouldn't dream of not planting the super large Brandywine.
When I was a girl there was a song, Guantanamera by Jose Feliciano. We had no idea what he was saying let alone what it meant, but we all had different guesses. One gf thought he was saying "one ton of metal", another thought it was "Juan won the medal", but I always thought it was "one ton tomata", so that's what I titled this post. It's just one of the hundreds of times in my life when I screw up song lyrics. I'm (almost) too embarrassed to tell you what I thought Pumped Up Kicks was about. I loved the song and sang along merrily, even whistled, thinking it was a happy song about a family having a picnic. I told my son it reminded me of all the fun family picnics we had when he was little, and he was all, "ummm, mom, nooooo!" Oops. Turns out the lyrics are not about happy picnikers. Still I sing it when I hear it, but I use MY lyrics. Mine are much nicer.