Tomato Days

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Imagine with me, if you will, sinking your teeth into a big ol’ fat tomato sandwich.

Not just any tomato sandwich though.

Imagine thick slices of fresh homemade bread… Smokey bacon… The perfect spread of mayo (or Miracle Whip — or whatever dressing you prefer)… Maybe even a few slices of garden-fresh cucumber or crisp lettuce… Heck, I even like a little bit of homemade sauerkraut on mine…

But crowning it all, like the proverbial cherry on top, you have the greatest of garden gems; the pinnacle of personal produce; the highest honor of home horticulture; Perfectly red; Perfectly ripe; Practically perfect in every way:

The Tomato.

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Yep.

Biting into a sandwich like that will give you a small glimpse into everything good and glorious about summertime gardening. It’s almost like taking a bite of sunshine and shade, weeding, watering, hoeing, hoping, heartbreak, and triumph — all at the same time!

Do I stray into hyperbole?

Perhaps.

(Although, to tell you the truth, I could’ve sworn that I ran right into it with arms waving and guns blazing.)

But the fact of the matter remains, tomatoes are pretty much the best. I love the smooth, shiny skin. The delicate red flesh. The elegant pockets filled with juicy seeds. The complex tangy, savory, sweet flavor as it explodes in your mouth.

Honestly, that’s what gardening is all about!

If I could only grow one plant for the rest of my life (gasp!) — it would have to be the tomato, because you just can’t get that flavor anywhere else. The storebought imitations don’t even come close!

But as much as I love a good tomato, d’you know what I love even more?

Picking tomatoes.

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There’s just something about it that fills my soul. Maybe it’s the exertion of hefting a full bucket from plant to plant, or the satisfaction of seeing my hard work finally paying off (after all, I did start these plants from seed, way back in February!) Heck, it might even have something to do with finally perfecting the delicate “push-and-roll” technique that allows you to harvest the beautiful ruby-red gems without bruising ’em or damaging the plant…

Whatever the case may be, I love pickin’ tomatoes!

Sure, it might not be everyone’s cup of tea. I’m probably just a special kind of crazy. But there’s nothing in this world that can replace a morning spent picking ’em.

And believe you me, we’ve spent quite a few mornings (and evenings) doin’ just that!

I can’t even remember how many bushels we’ve harvested this year, nor how many hours have been spent crawling through our dark, tangled jungle of tomato plants — but I’m pleased to report that it hasn’t gotten old. Not by a long shot!

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The 50 pounds of tomatoes I picked last week was every bit as exciting as that very first one, way back in July.

And once you pick ’em, then you gotta DO something with ’em… (Which generally ends up being an all-day process).

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Yes, it sounds like a lot of work (and, really, it IS) but I just love tomato days. Salsa… Spaghetti sauce… Stewed tomatoes… Tomato soup… It really doesn’t matter what we’re making, tomato days are always pretty great!

I just hope we don’t run out of canning jars before the frost hits…

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