Thursday, October 4, 2012

If At First You Don't Succeed...

In all the years I have lived in sunny California - going on 17, now - I have never managed to grow good tomatoes.  I have a sunny little spot in my garden and I have even planted tomatoes in tubs on rollers so I could move them around to the sun, but I'm lucky if I get a few cherry tomatoes or even one nice big ripe one. It might help if I moved inland about 10 miles - life here close to the cold bay waters is not conducive to fruits that relish the heat of, say, Italy. But this cool climate is conducive to My Beloved, and I couldn't leave the beautiful view, so we stay and mostly buy our tomatoes from the farmer's market.

Earlier this summer, I was again in despair. I planted two tomato plants this year (ever the optimist), one in a pot and one in the ground, but had harvested only one and it was so small it hardly made a single BLT. I was grumbling under my breath and threatening never, ever to do this again.  Why doom myself to bitter disappointment year after year?  

Then, late in August, the tomato planted in the ground got busy and set some fruit!  Imagine my excitement!  And, ever so slowly, the tomatoes started to grow, then to actually ripen!  Huzzah!  I had to tie up the plant to keep the swelling fruit off the ground and, finally, had to put strawberry baskets under the ripening berries to let air get underneath and to keep the slugs at bay.

I picked my first home grown tomato last week. It was a thing of beauty, richly red and firm but a little soft to the touch. It was, in a word, perfect.

I carried it inside and laid it reverently on the counter; I wanted simply to admire it and to revel in my success. 

After a single day in a bowl on the counter, my beautiful tomato rotted. Formed a pool of nasty-smelling liquid and sank down to its shoulders in the ooze. I couldn't believe my eyes!  I was reminded that heirloom varieties are not selected for long shelf life, as are most store bought tomatoes. One must eat them immediately or suffer the sad, gooey consequences. 

I'm wiser now. As the rest of the fruit ripens, I will leave it on the vine until I am ready to use it, then pick it at the peak of flavor and enjoy it right away.  But, because Murphy is still in charge, we are leaving next week for a trip back east to visit relatives. My neighbors may be the only ones who get to taste my tomatoes as they should be eaten.  I have asked them to tell me about how good they were... *sigh*


Blogger katiez said...

Mine last a day or two on the counter.... Strange that it should go off that quickly.
Also strange that you could resist eating it immediately LOL

Thursday, October 04, 2012  
Blogger Greg said...

Years ago April lived in the Mill Valley fog zone and grew "San Francisco Fog" variety with great success. I just Googled them and they still exist. Maybe?

Thursday, October 04, 2012  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Katie's, now I know to seize the day!

Greg, I will look for seeds or seedlings of this variety next year. Thanks!

Friday, October 05, 2012  
Blogger namastenancy said...

A friend who lives up north brings me bags of them. I immediately saute them in a bit of olive oil and freeze what I don't use immediately. Even though they are frozen, they retain that delicious flavor when reheated.

Friday, October 05, 2012  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Nancy, wish I could raise enough to make freezing worthwhile.

Saturday, October 06, 2012  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

I hear you are back; I hear all is (hope) well. Missed you. You are a good soul.

Saturday, October 13, 2012  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Cookiecrumb, thanks, yes, it's good to be home.

Sunday, October 14, 2012  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Cookiecrumb, thanks, yes, it's good to be home.

Sunday, October 14, 2012  

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