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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Hello There, You Cute Little Tomato

Our Goal:
Homegrown tomatoes by the Fourth of July.

We do it every year here in northern New Jersey, but this year we
just squeaked past the finish line in the nick of time, with a small, ripe
plum tomato plucked from the vine yesterday, on the Fourth.  Whew!

Ain't she a beaut?

When I watered the borders today, where our tomato plants cozy up
cheek-by-jowl with our perennials and a few scraggly annuals,
with a healthy serving of weeds to keep them in fighting trim . . .
another plum tomato just fell right off its perch, into the wet dirt.

I rinsed it off, and I et it.  It was delish.  Warm and spicy.

Our secret to getting homegrown tomatoes by the 4th of July?
We totally cheat.

We buy BIG thick-stemmed tomato plants in big pots, already
blooming, dig them into our dirt and pass them off as our own. 
Often they have baby tomatoes already growing.

They take off like gangbusters.

I'd tell you where we get these amazingly big and healthy tomato
plants, for just a couple of bucks apiece, but then I'd have to kill you.
Hey, it's New Jersey.  We got rules.

Now if we can keep the chipmunks, groundhogs, and deer away from
our tomatoes, we might actually get a chance to eat more than one or two.
'Cause this is all we usually get off the vines:
I don't know about you, but I prefer
my tomatoes not be pre-chewed.

I prefer them fresh, in sandwiches,
 or in something tossed-together, like this:
Just cheese, fresh tomatoes, bacon and a bit of basil
in a pre-baked pie crust.  Into the oven - instant lunch.

Or this - a spicy cold tomato soup, topped with a plop of goat cheese.

This is why we try and grow enough tomatoes for us, and the
foraging beasts.  The beasts always get more,
but we make do with their leftovers.

Summertime at That Old House.
Stop by, why don't you?  We could use the help weeding . . . .

And our Dion could use the company.

Have a lovely July 5th!  -- Cass


  1. The Fourth of July was always the yardstick for getting the first tomato -- this year they were getting them in JUNE!!! By the Fourth, tomatoes were "ho hum"! I keep them on my windowsill like my mom did -- sort of seems like summer doesn't it with tomatoes on the windowsill! I have one plant and it's not doing well -- too much heat (it was a tiny guy) and too much chlorine in the water (they're "blowing" out our water system -- but they've been doing that for at least a month -- how long does it take to "blow" them out!

    Your dishes look lovely -- but I love tomato anything!

  2. I will have a piece of the tomato pie and a bowl of the soup (without the goat cheese) please. :)
    I also have a major weeding job here that needs to be done.
    Give sweet Dion a gentle hug for me.
    Enjoy your evening and stay cool.

  3. Yum, lucky you to have tomatoes already. I think we have two tiny ones that are about ready to pick. We grow ours in pots, so we don't have a very big/good crop, but that's the only way to get the plants in the sun!

  4. Your foods....make my mouth water and your Dion stirs my heart. Those EYES get me every time. :0) (((hugs)))Pat

  5. I love fresh tomatoes, right off the vine.....mmmm. It makes my mouth water. I probably wouldn't even have bothered to wipe the dirt off that one, I might have ate it, dirt and ALL! I love to make a tomato, mozzarella and basil salad in summer. It seems like I eat one of those salads at least every day.

  6. Cass, I have to ask... where did you get the plate the tomato is on in the first photos? I love that pattern!

  7. They are still YOUR tomatoes..whether from starter plants or big, healthy plants with blooms on them! I have one, lonely tomato plant that is slow with blooms and nary a tomato to be seen! I'm not a happy camper. There's nothing better than fresh, grown tomatoes. To die for!!


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