Thursday, August 18, 2011

Simple Foodie Pleasures - #1 - Tomatoes!

Fresh, juicy, homegrown tomatoes. Growing up in Columbia County, New York, then living in the Schenectady area, we so looked forward to the homegrown tomatoes and sweet corn that used to become available about mid-July through August. Lucky New York City folks got world-class tomatoes for a longer season as growers on Long Island and nearby New Jersey could eke out several crops a year.

During my middle years in Southwest Florida, I was always disappointed in the local tomatoes. They looked absolutely beautiful but had a thick white core, were not as juicy, and in my mind, were not as tasty. I don't miss them at all.

Georgia generally has wonderful produce -- sweet corn, blueberries, super-sweet vidalia onions, and, of course, peaches. But Georgia tomatoes are AWESOME! They rekindle my memories of the flavors that I enjoyed in childhood -- plain tomato and mayonnaise sandwiches (if lettuce and bacon were not readily available), sliced tomatoes and sweet corn almost every night for dinner.

I'm not sure why tomatoes vary so much between locations. My attempts to grow tomato plants in potting soil in the "perfect growing climate" of Naples, Florida still produced fruit with more of the white core than I appreciate. The heat in Northeast Georgia is way more intense than Southwest Florida and it's been cold enough for snow for the past several years. Maybe it's the variation in weather that the plants need to produce tasty fruit? Does anybody know?

While we contemplate this, join me in enjoying this season's crop of "love apples." In some areas, there are only a few more weeks!

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