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It was eight o’clock on Saturday morning and I had a decision to make: Which vendor had the best-looking tomatoes?
Tomatoes were everywhere at the Biscuits and Jam Union County Farmers Market. Big tomatoes. Small tomatoes. Ripe ones. Not-so-ripe ones.
Finally, I settled on the really large, ripe ones at the Pannell Farms table. The lady told she had 40 plants and the season had started a couple of weeks early because of the heat.
“Enjoy them while you can because the crop is going to be short,” she said.
I didn’t need coaxing; tomatoes are one of my favorite things. I came home with seven pounds.
Jenny looked me in disbelief. “What are you going to do with all those?” she asked.
“Eat them,” I replied.
When I was growing up, our family had tomatoes with every evening meal in the summertime. My father would raise them in his garden, and he usually planted more than we and the neighbors could eat.
And he mostly only wanted them served one way – peeled, and sliced. He could eat a dozen slices at one sitting.
“We need to be eating more tomatoes. We can’t let them go bad,” he would say, before plowing into a plateful.
I guess that’s where I got my enthusiasm for home-grown tomato season. The only change is that I let people who know what they’re doing grow them.
So far, we’ve had tomatoes with cottage cheese (the three of us can eat a platter of tomatoes and a tub of cottage cheese at one sitting) a couple of times.
On Saturday night, we cooked up some bacon and made BLTs. When I said I was eating my seventh sandwich, Jenny rolled her eyes. It’s because of the way I count my sandwiches.
When I make my BLT, I tear one piece of bread in half and arrange the fixin’s on one side, slap it together and call it one sandwich. In Jenny’s world, that’s half a sandwich. Joe agrees with her, and asked how many cheeseburgers I’ve eaten if I cut mine in half? Two cheeseburgers? Esquire magazine says real men don’t cut their cheeseburgers in the first place, so I’m reluctant to admit I do.
Anyhow, that’s beside the point, which is tomatoes.
On Sunday, Jenny treated us to her famous (or at least, it ought to be) tomato pie. It’s sort of like quiche except without the eggs. Instead it has mozzarella cheese, basil and garlic; the surprise ingredient is mayonnaise. It sounds awful, but it’s so good that it’s hard to believe it’s a vegetarian dish.
Now, here it is mid-week and I’m getting worried. There’s only a couple of tomatoes left on the counter. Will we run out of tomatoes before Saturday?
Isn’t summer wonderful?
T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.