On Friday I finished a book that I'd been waiting to read once our tomato plants started producing called Heirloom: Notes from an Accidental Tomato Farmer by Tim Stark. This book reminded me a bit of French Dirt: The Story of a Garden in the South of France by Richard Goodman, which is one of my favorite memoirs. Both of these writers are insistent and keep trying different things until their crops come out just right.
My husband and I are doing that ourselves in a spot on the side of our house that gets sun practically all day, though our agricultural experiment is on a much smaller scale. Last summer our two tomato plants performed poorly. At the very end of the summer we finally picked our harvest of only two tomatoes. They tasted good, but they were hardly the bumper crop we'd hoped for. This summer, we've planted three plants: , and . Though we aren't experiencing the success of our neighbors across the street who have their plants in containers, we're doing well enough. The grape tomatoes are doing particularly well in our yard, so next summer I think we'll need to plant more of those.
Our tomatoes taste great and we've put them in a corn dish, made bruschetta and added them to sauces. Here are some of my favorite things to do with a tomato:
Spread a layer of goat cheese on Melba toast crackers. Top with pesto and half a grape tomato (this is my own invention).
Slice up a ball of fresh mozzarella and half a pint of grape tomatoes. Mix with fresh basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar (this is my friend, Natalie's invention).
Cherry Tomato-Caper Salad
Combine two Tbsp of balsamic vinegar, one Tbsp of drained small capers, four Tsp of olive oil and 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper. Drizzle over tomato halves and toss to coat. Let stand for at least 15 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh basil. Serve over Bibb lettuce (from Southern Living's Ultimate Quick and Easy Cookbook, 2004).