October 28th, 2014
Groundhog invasion notwithstanding, the saddest downer of the gardening season is the last tomato.
I picked my final one of 2014 over the weekend.
It was a wimpy vestige of August’s sweet, meaty, red heirlooms – soft, a washed-out red in color, and showing a few spots that make ripening doubtful.
I’ll eat it anyway because I know it’ll be 8 long months – at least – until the next jackpot pays out.
I can’t imagine a summer without fresh tomatoes from the backyard garden. At the moment, I can’t imagine going 8 months before slicing a ‘Big Beef’ or a ‘Brandywine’ on a plate with some mayonnaise.
Of all of the edible crops, the tomato is the one that makes our gardening effort more worth it than any.
If evil aliens came along and demanded that I give them every plant in my yard except for one, my tomato plant would be my solo keeper.
Even though supermarket varieties are better than they used to be (packaged grape ones aren’t half bad), they’re still a far cry from superior varieties ripened fully in the mid-summer sun.
This year I had the privilege of growing some of the finest tomatoes I’ve ever eaten.
They came from saved seed sent to me by Bill Mende, a tomato-loving reader who said these were the best he’d ever tasted.
The variety was a large, heart-shaped, pinkish-red heirloom whose heritage is cloudy, other than that it apparently originated in Yugoslavia. Bill called it ‘Yugo.’