The last time we grew tomatoes on a large scale was in the summer of 2007. I hated every second of it
I remember crawling up and down the rows of tomato plants on my hands and knees gagging at the intense tomato smell. I remember being repulsed at the wet, tomato condensation dripping off the roofs of the poly tunnels and onto my head and down my neck and into my clothes. And that black tomato gunk that stains your fingers and cannot be washed off almost threw me over the edge. Yuk!
We picked thousands and thousands of heirloom tomatoes that year. Tomatoes of every shape and variety and colour. But I'm pretty certain I did not even eat one.
Since that summer, for almost the whole of Miss Pepper's life, I've avoided the strong smelling, super flavoursome, summer treats. Until last year. Last year we bought five big boxes of tomatoes from our friend Florian to preserve. It was like an intermediate step. We didn't grow them, but they were local and organic and smelled out my kitchen for a few March weeks.
And then about six months ago I found myself doing an interview for a magazine article answering a question about my gardening goals. I wrote that my gardening goals were to grow enough tomatoes to last us the whole year long. Some to eat fresh, some to semi dry and some to preserve as sauce and as passata for the rest of the year.
And that was that, it was no sooner written than decided. We were back in the tomato growing business again.
We sowed the seeds, when they were big enough we planted them in the ground, we fertilised them, we irrigated them, we pricked out the extra growth, we trellised them and now we're picking them.
For the past few weeks every tomato that's been picked has been eaten that very same day. Until today. Today we had enough to eat and to mix up with garlic and olive oil and to oven dry. They'll be jarred up tomorrow morning in olive oil. Deeeeeeelicious.
I am so grateful that we've had a hot, sunny summer this year to ripen my reds and I am getting more and more hopeful that I will realise my gardening goal. Or at least get close.
It feels great to be back in tomato-land, even if I can't wash that stinky, black stuff off my hands and arms.
I say tomato, you say ??
Happy last day of summer for tomorrow peeps!
Can you believe it?
Are you ready for it?
Have you got a gardening goal?
Care to share?