Tomato season is here

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fennel
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Tomato season is here

Postby fennel » Tue Aug 19, 2014 8:11 pm

At last, the yearly wave of umami is upon us.

Aside from whole tomatoes, seasoned with nothing more than blown kisses, we've been having lots of sandwiches where tomatoes figure as the main component, some light summer almost-stews, salads with tomato vinaigrette ... Steamed green beans, more green beans, and then — when we're bored with those — haricots verts.

What's on your summer plate?

HotPepper
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Re: Tomato season is here

Postby HotPepper » Tue Aug 19, 2014 8:24 pm

Oh man. I would love LOVE L-O-V-E to be able to grow fresh garden tomatoes. Alas the skills to grow them I do not have in any way, shape, or form. Thank GOODNESS for the fresh grown garden tomatoes at the various farmer's markets around Dane County. Nothing beats the flavor of a fresh garden tomato. The heirloom varieties are even more awesome. Tomatoes at other times of the year have less flavor than packing peanuts. I love stocking up on the "scratch N dent" tomatoes at the markets. Less cost but I can make some of the most incredibly flavored sauces and salsa's which will last until next Spring. To the Dane County Farmer's who supply our markets--THANK YOU!!

fennel
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Re: Tomato season is here

Postby fennel » Tue Aug 19, 2014 9:03 pm

HotPepper wrote:Oh man. I would love LOVE L-O-V-E to be able to grow fresh garden tomatoes. Alas the skills to grow them I do not have in any way, shape, or form.
Well, you *can* grow your own if you have a little bit of garden space. It's not library science, after all. If you have a bit of dirt, a bit of patience, and the willingness to ask questions, you're going to have fun. There are also vertical, suspended systems for potted tomatoes which take up very little space.

Sadly, the local markets don't offer much in the way of "scratch N dent" tomatoes that are suitable for canning. Canning tomatoes may be cosmetically flawed, scabby, etc., but they need to be essentially fresh and intact.

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Re: Tomato season is here

Postby snoqueen » Tue Aug 19, 2014 9:57 pm

I am not much for growing vegetables -- I'm happy to support those who do it for a living -- but in my prairie plant garden, green zebra tomatoes are a genuine weed. I planted one -- one -- on purpose about five years ago, and its descendants have come up every year since then, all volunteer. Of course I leave them to their own devices, and every year get several handfuls of little green zebra children. It's just that easy. Good dirt and full sun is all they want.

I am more partial to raspberries, and this year looks like a bumper crop. I think the cold winter dealt the Japanese beetles a setback and the berries are trying to get even. The raspberries never even make it into the house -- the neighbor and I just stand outside and eat all the ripe ones every morning.

Mad Howler
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Re: Tomato season is here

Postby Mad Howler » Wed Aug 20, 2014 1:45 am

fennel wrote:What's on your summer plate?

1) loads of tomatoes - as well
2) a bumper crop fresh soybean for edamame
3) basil - obviously
4) runner beans
5) the peppers are a coming
6) & some melons

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Re: Tomato season is here

Postby kurt_w » Wed Aug 20, 2014 6:00 am

Yep, we've got lots of big fat red tomatoes. They're going into sandwiches, and pretty much any other main dish we can accommodate them into. Since it's also the peak of zucchini and eggplant and green pepper, we're putting away a lot of ratatouille.

If you like southern comfort food, you can find recipes for tomato pie on the internet, mostly originating in the pages of Southern Living.

We have been losing more than usual this year to crows. A social group of five or six crows lives in our yard (literally -- they move around from the front to the back, but never leave). They've been attacking the tomatoes, and other things too.

"Tomatoes" in Chinese are "xī hóng shì" which literally means "western red things".

TeachInPeace
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Re: Tomato season is here

Postby TeachInPeace » Wed Aug 20, 2014 6:14 am

Ok, insanely jealous of all of you - while it's been a phenomenal year for lettuce, herbs, green beans, rutabagas, shallots, and peppers of all stripes; the free air conditioning supplied by Lake Michigan has produced tomatoes that are big, plump, shiny, and stubbornly green. If I could get just three hot and sunny days in a row, we might see some action - but I'm beginning to believe this will be the year of putting up green tomato paste...

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Re: Tomato season is here

Postby kurt_w » Wed Aug 20, 2014 6:59 am

Ever made green tomato mincemeat? Yum! If you have too many green tomatoes, chop 'em up, cook 'em up via a recipe like this, and can them for use in pies all fall and winter. It's an excellent vegetarian alternative to mincemeat pie, in fact better than the original.

Henry Vilas
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Re: Tomato season is here

Postby Henry Vilas » Wed Aug 20, 2014 8:12 am

The chipmunks love Ms Vilas' Romas.

Michael Patrick
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Re: Tomato season is here

Postby Michael Patrick » Wed Aug 20, 2014 8:41 am

Henry Vilas wrote:The chipmunks love Ms Vilas' Romas.


I'm pretty much a live and let live kinda guy as it relates to our local wildlife. Until the chipmunks started attacking my tomatoes. The little bastards wait until they are good and red, and then they go and take a single bite out of each one. I wouldn't mind so much if they took one or two and feasted on the whole thing, but no, they have to ruin every last ripe one.

And this year especially, when our wet and cold June prevented the plants from putting on very many fruit, every tomato is sacred. So I've declared war on those furry little monsters. War I tell ya! WAR!!! KILL!!! KILL!!! KILLL!!! Eat dead burned bodies, veins in my teeth...

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Re: Tomato season is here

Postby peripat » Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:05 am

It's ground squirrels, not chipmunks, eating the tomatoes at my house. I find they will come back and eat more of the same tomato if I leave it on the vine. Once it falls to the ground they seem to lose interest. Fortunately they are short and can only reach the lower hanging fruit.

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Re: Tomato season is here

Postby Ttusker » Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:38 am

A few years ago, when I had just moved into my current place, my neighbor gave me a tomato plant as a welcome gift. The plant grew nice and tall and lushly green, but produced exactly one tomato. It was perfectly shaped, and I had plans to use it in my first BLT of the summer. The day I thought it was ripe enough, I stopped at the store on my way home from work and got some bacon and lettuce. When I got home, my tomato was gone. No sign of it anywhere. To this day, when I see a rabbit or chipmunk or squirrel in the backyard, I wonder, "Are YOU the thief??"

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Re: Tomato season is here

Postby Gentle Man » Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:32 am

We grew orange cherry tomatoes that are delicious, although the skin is a bit tough. The basil fragrance is almost intoxicating. Also we're getting red peppers that are a bit smaller than advertised but nice and sweet.

The zucchini was a bust. I believe they failed to get pollinated. Maybe a sign of the bee problem.

Otherwise, I've been harvesting small amounts of wild catnip, keeping the kitty playful and the rest of us (with the exception of the dog) amused.

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Re: Tomato season is here

Postby kurt_w » Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:47 am

Michael Patrick wrote:I'm pretty much a live and let live kinda guy as it relates to our local wildlife.

OK, I don't have a problem with chipmunks, though as I mentioned the crows have been going for the tomatoes.

But I live along a popular jogging/walking route, and despite the garden being fenced and gated (to keep out deer) I know we lose a certain amount to random human passersby.

I know this because I was talking with one of my own students a couple of years ago, and she accidentally let slip "oh, that garden, I took a tomato from there last week" before turning as red as a tomato herself from embarrassment.

Gentle Man wrote:The zucchini was a bust. I believe they failed to get pollinated. Maybe a sign of the bee problem.

If you want to send a truck this way, I could probably spare a few metric tons of zucchini.

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Re: Tomato season is here

Postby Michael Patrick » Wed Aug 20, 2014 11:39 am

kurt_w wrote: But I live along a popular jogging/walking route, and despite the garden being fenced and gated (to keep out deer) I know we lose a certain amount to random human passersby.

I know this because I was talking with one of my own students a couple of years ago, and she accidentally let slip "oh, that garden, I took a tomato from there last week" before turning as red as a tomato herself from embarrassment.


Just yesterday I was thinking back to when I was a juvenile delinquent roaming the back alleys of Chicago, and I occasionally robbed a tomato from a neighbor's garden. Now that I am a tomato grower myself, and understand all the work that goes into it, I realize the error of my ways.


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