tomatoes, again -- a farewell

Oh tomatoes. I know I went on and on about them before, but I really do love them. I'm still harvesting them, but I know they won't last much longer.

And so I've been trying to savor these last tomatoes. Enjoying them as much as I can. Making ratatouille and pizza and spaghetti and stew all filled with garden tomatoes. But also, I've been trying to eat them raw and unadorned while I still can. Tomato sandwiches with inch-thick slices of tomato. Or even simpler, a single tomato sliced into wedges and salted. A bowl full of cherry tomatoes halved and sprinkled with balsamic vinegar. Or just whole cherry tomatoes eaten off the counter or from the vine (though the weather has made harvesting more of a run outside and run back inside sort of thing lately).

I'm assessing the tomatoes I grew this summer and thinking about next year's garden. This year, although things got off to a slow start, the tomatoes ended up doing very well. There wasn't really any disease and the plants were productive. I did notice that the tomatoes I had growing in the backyard raised bed were much less productive than the ones in the area we cleared on the south side of the house. Both spots were a bit sun-challenged, but the backyard was maybe too shady. None of my tomatoes began producing as soon as the tomatoes my parents grew at the farm (we raised all the seeds together and they got into the ground at about the same time) and I'm sure it had to be because they got so much more sun at the farm.

As for the varieties. I loved the Sungold cherry tomatoes, again. They're maybe my favorite cherry. I didn't love the other cherry tomato I grew this year. It didn't seem as favorful. And although I was surprised and delighted by the Amish Paste tomatoes, Martino's Roma was a disappointment partly because it was so low-growing and hard to harvest, but mostly because the fruits were so quick to fall off the vines. The green tomatoes often popped off when I picked ripe ones and there were usually fruits lying on the ground in various states of ripeness whenever I went to check on the plants. Paul Robeson was good and so was Moskvitch. And I enjoyed Green Zebra, again this year, although they seemed to be slower than the other varieties.

Each year is different, isn't it? Each year has its challenges. A perfectly ripe tomato eaten fresh from the garden always tastes better than anything else no matter what variety it might be. Looking through the varieties here is making me want to try lots more next year. I'm grateful to the garden, to the plants and the bees and the sunshine and the rain. I'm grateful for this first summer with us living and growing near the farm, helping out with the gardens there and sharing in the harvests. I'm glad to know I have a freezer filled with roasted tomatoes and whole cherry tomatoes waiting to be eaten in soups and sauces all winter long (or at least for a month or two...).

Even so, the focus will be moving away from tomatoes as the plants finish producing. And my paintings will be  changing focus, too.

I'm not sure what I'll paint when the garden isn't my constant source of inspiration anymore, but it's fun to imagine all the possibilities.


  1. Your watercoloured tomatoes are so very vibrant Anne! Enjoy the rest of your harvest!

  2. When I was selling my heirloom tomato plants, Paul Robeson was a popular one. I much preferred Carbon to it though. If you haven't tried Carbon, add it to your list. Very rich, savory yet sweet dark flesh tomato. Still one of my favorites to this day.

    Sadly, my toms didn't fair as well as yours apparently. I haven't harvested for quite some time. There just wasn't much there to pick. Blight got them pretty bad this year along with the late start, I think I was doomed from the beginning. Also, I don't know if it's in my head or real but after the temperature dips below 55˚ they change flavor and they're not as good. I have read this to be true, that it is a chemical reaction to the temperature. I'll always pass on tomatoes from the grocery that are kept in the cooler - no matter how badly I want one. Have you noticed a change in yours?

  3. More tomatoes are on my To Grow list for next year ;)


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