Monday, August 01, 2005

New Jersey Treasure #4

There are so many good things about living here in the center of NJ, I could go on and on about them. And I've decided to do just that. Periodically I'm going to pick something that has recently made itself a pleasure in my life and tell you why it's a NJ Treasure, in hopes that you'll enjoy it too and have more pleasures in your life.

This installment features: Home-grown tomatoes. The garden is overwhelmed these days, with tons of zuchini, carrots, lettuce and green beans- but the real attraction to summer gardens in Our Fair State is the tomato. It doesn't matter what kind; I plant Brandywine, Rutgers, these little orange ones and some big pink ones I've long since forgotten the names for, super-sweet cherry tomatoes, and Romas. I save the seeds and grow my favorites again each year, plus some cross-bred wierd ones which show up from rotten tomatoes that fell in the garden, leaving seed. (We had an orange Brandywine last year. They were good!)

There's nothing like that home-grown tomato. Oh, the farmstands are close, and if you can't or don't have a garden you should visit one and get some big beautiful examples. But if you're lucky enough to have a few plants or neighbors who have too many, you will get that summer beauty. Still warm from the sun if you can. My youngest goes out into the garden and picks them with me, eating all the way. My husband slices the big juicy ones and put them on Lebanon Bologna sandwiches made with good bread and lots of mayo. My oldest will only eat them cooked so we make pasta sauces. I love tomato salad with fresh mozarrella and basil. If I visit anyone during August, I will bring them a bag of our fresh-picked bounty.

The peaches here are outstanding. Oh, I love blueberries too. But for summer produce, the winner is the tomato. Go pick some Jersey Fresh tomatoes and enjoy one of New Jersey's Treasures.


Sluggo said...

Amen. I've never, ever tasted a tomato as good as the ones I grow in my back yard. Unfortunately, a group of very clever squirrels have taken up residence nearby and have picked off every single one for the past two years. My defensive measures have merely amused them. They laugh at chickenwire. Any advice?

Sharon GR said...

I have two greyhounds. What are these "squirrels" of which you speak?

Actually, the hounds are effective at ridding the yard of small mammals, but the squirrels still get most of my figs. (They sneak in while the hounds are taking their naps, 23 hours out of every day.) I've never had squirrels get into the tomatoes, that I know of. I plant way too many tomatoes, something like 28 or 30 plants this year plus the ones that spring up, so I may be supplying the local tree-rat popluation without even noticing the loss. Or they're just full from the figs.

PapaGoose said...

I used to think Maryland tomatoes were the best, but after living here 6 years I'm a convert.