I’ve lived in this country almost my entire life’albeit with six years in Victoria’so I don’t know why it surprises me every single year that summer doesn’t actually start in April. And this year, part of my impatient waiting has to do with anticipation about fresh home-grown tomatoes (as in, when will I get my first one?).
There are many things I buy fresh only in season now: most stone fruit (such as peaches and cherries), rhubarb (of course), asparagus, strawberries, corn. And while I do buy fresh tomatoes occasionally throughout the year, it’s not a regular thing. What I really look forward to is tomato season, and home-grown tomatoes, freshly picked and warmed from the sun. I don’t serve them many ways, either: my favourite two are a tomato sandwich on toasted bread with mayo and a tomato and bocconcini salad (with fresh basil, too). Sometimes, simple is best.
Two books have come across my desk lately that aren’t helping my patience when it comes to waiting for tomato season. The first is simply titled Tomato (pictured), and it’s a beautiful guide to everything you need to know about tomatoes, such as which varieties are best for which dishes. The back of the book contains a collection of tomato recipes that I’ll use to broaden my repertoire’the homemade ketchup recipe is especially intriguing. Where this guide really excels is its step-by-step (with pictures) instructions on growing your own tomatoes, whether you start from seed or buy seedlings.
The second is The Heirloom Tomato, which includes background information on tomatoes and a collection of recipes as well. But what serious tomato lovers will really appreciate here is the encyclopedic listing of more than 200 varieties of tomato, with a photo of each.
I don’t know about you, but I think I’ll be getting my tomatoes in the ground this weekend. I don’t know if I can wait any longer.