They’re here! The slicing tomatoes are here!
Yeah, sure, we’ve been enjoying the bite-sized determinates since June, and they are good. I won’t deny that they have been swell. The first two Caprese salads of the season were dynamite. I will never forget them. But in all honesty, what started this weekend is The Show.
This is what I’ve been waiting for. I’ve intentionally held back on buying tomatoes these last months. Not at the supermarket and not even at the farmers’ markets. I wanted to make sure that the feeling of tomato deprivation was so great, that when the first slicers made their appearance, I would appreciate every bite. And they have. And I did.
The very first treat I made was a homemade bloody mary. That was good. So fresh and tangy. This afternoon I popped a bunch into the oven to roast. Tonight we’ll have roasted tomato soup for dinner. I’ve been dreaming about this for weeks.
And for lunch, I had my very favourite summer sandwich: Fried Egg with Basil and Tomato.
The cosmos are sizing up now. Their stalks are thick and strong — it must be the duck manure that I worked into our sandy soil this spring. The seeds were started late this year since we didn’t have a garden at the time that I should have been direct sowing them.
Better late than never.
Ever since I publicly declared my love for this delicate and delightful weedy menace [oops... breaking my own rule here], I have resolved to grow more of them in my garden, the caveat being that I would go with unusual forms and/or double varieties and steer clear from the single pink and white varieties.
I know. Cheese-y. I couldn’t help myself, although I think it aptly reflects the gleeful delight I feel each morning when I go out to collect the day’s garden offerings.
The top two squashes are Benning’s Green Tint Patty Pan from the Hudson Valley Seed Library. This is my first time growing it. The middle zucchini is ‘Nice de Rond’, a French heirloom that I have grown on and off for years. The pea pod is ‘Dwarf Grey Sugar’, a short-ish variety with pretty flowers. I tried that one in one of the raised beds this year, after years growing it in pots. To be honest I didn’t notice a difference. The sign of a truly good container plant.
The Hudson Valley Seed Library website describes ‘Benning’s Green Tint’ as a “compact bush”, but that hasn’t been my experience. Mine is absolutely mammoth — possibly the largest bushing zucchini I have ever grown both in size and productivity! I did not provide well for its aggressive expansion and it is beginning to take over the space that was meant to be shared with two other zucchini plants. It has also spilled well over into the walking path. The plant keeps growing and has taken on what is close to a trailing habit!
Meanwhile, the ‘Nice de Rond’ remains as compact in the ground as it has been in pots. I love this one in small spaces and the round, cue ball fruits are tender and unique.
Oh dear. I really have been remiss in providing updates and photos of the garden in its first year. The last photo I posted was on June 29. We were headed to Denver and I wanted a record of it before I left. Until that time June was still a bit wet and sometimes cold. A heatwave struck while we were gone and the garden really took off from there.
Blackberries and greenberries aka Morelle verte (Solanum opacum)
The harvest is so bountiful this year. It’s no surprise really, considering the weather we’ve had. Dry and hot, then wet, followed again by heat. The plants love it. I collected enough herbs from our community garden plot yesterday to cover the kitchen floor. Literally. I then spent hours preparing it all to preserve by varying methods. Let’s just say, we’re not going to be short on herbs this winter.
If you’re looking for a way to use up some of those baseball bat-sized zucchinis, I highly recommend this zucchini bread recipe from Heidi of 101 Cookbooks. It is a revelation. We’ve made it several times, altering the optional ingredients, and it comes out perfect and incredibly delicious every single time. I will never use another zucchini bread recipe again. Go make some now. You will not regret it.
I made this last batch using a giant roll of cinnamon I brought back from Dominica. Look at the size of it against a typical supermarket piece! In fact, the small, locally purchased piece is probably not cinnamon, but cassia, a cinnamon substitute more commonly found in North American supermarkets. Grinding that big piece of cinnamon was very satisfying, the smell so wonderfully sweet and aromatic. I love that every time I use this spice — which judging by the size of it will be for a very long time — I will be taken back to our trip.
What are you making with your bounty?