Wednesday, September 21, 2011

'Tis Tomato Season!

Every August, I take off for 1-2 weeks to help my uncle harvest.  Since I've been a wee little tyke, I've only missed one harvest.  I've been helping in the field since I was 13 and I can't imagine not going back and partaking in the harvest anytime soon.  Who amongst you would take vacation time to go back and work 12 hour days in dirt, dust, and itchy chaff willing?  Yes, the bug just won't ever let go.
My brother and I traded off driving this behemoth on the outskirts of Grangeville, Id.

However, a funny thing happened when I went on vacation - the prodigal summer came back home.  I think it only took two days of me being away for the good sunshine to hit.  At first, I was kinda upset (re: pissed off.)  Farmers in general tend to grind axes about the weather.  And, what better axe to grind, than to bemoan the summer without a day of 90+.  Of course, when that nice high pressure system decided to stick around for a month, I soon acquiesced, knowing that my garden was going to be L-O-V-I-N-' it! 

Amazing what some heat will do for them 'maters.  It's just been brilliant.  I've retrieved a large bowl like that pretty much every night for the past couple weeks.  After a disappointing 2009 season, and the record cold and rain from this spring/summer La Nina, this was a significant change for the better.  Even that week long coastal front passed and were back to the warm luxurious 80's.  How it warms the cockles of my heart!

I've gotten a good share of tomato varieties to ripen and here are few of my favorites:
Vintage Wine - Striped Brandywine, excellent tomato

Amana Orange

Azoychka - tasty Russian heirloom that is yellow with light red streaking

Black Krim - DELICIOUS!
Green Zebra
Radiator Charlie - beautiful fruit, grew it as an after-thought, but so glad I did

Virginia Sweets - very intrigued by this near 2lb-er

I'll have more pics later, but that's a pretty good sample.  I've dehydrated a number of them, as that is my favorite way to consume them (just an intense tangy treat to gnaw on - about a million times better than jerky.)  My wife made a huge batch of tomato sauce last weekend and we've obviously eaten a lot of them fresh as well.  With this warm weather, they will keep rolling in for at least another couple weeks, which is great.  I've got a couple varieties that I got planted late that I'm dying to see ripened (Red Brandywine and Marvel Stripe.)  Hopefully I'll have an update on those in a week or two. 

Until then, enjoy the summer!