June 10, 2007

Summer Food Kick-Off

Saturday, we had our first BBQ of the season. We bought entirely too much beer, bread, chips, and sausage. But we nailed our estimate of the white wine, hamburgers, cheese, cowboy caviar, almond bundt cake (marzipan-based recipe from my favorite baking cookbook), fresh raspberry and pitted bing cherries topping for the cake.

It was great to catch up with my sister (who drove the farthest! yeah!) friends, and friends of friends. The sun was out, and the smell of barbeque was in the air. It is officially BBQ season.

Unfortunately, it is not officially tomato season. As much as I wish it were true, it's just not.

So, today, at our local farmer's market, to tide myself over after looking at the hothouse options, in addition to some dark leafy greens (which have been sadly lacking in our diet), I bought a black krim seedling. I also bought an assortment of basil seedlings. I asked many questions about care and hope to undo my current gardening skillset, which involves killing multiple cacti.

I picked some of the basil leaves for lunch and added them to the not-even-close-to-true-tomato in our fridge with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. We ate it with leftover bollilo from the barbeque. The good olive oil from vino noceto plus good balsamic did a good job of hiding the substitute non-flavor-full tomatoes from me until the real thing appears.

But, truly, I just can't wait. I've been outside to check on my plants 3 times today since I transplanted them. I reread the "Tomato Cultivation" chapter in The Tomato Festival Cookbook.

According to the gardening man who sold me the seedlings, I can expect tomatoes at the end of August. According to the Seed Savers Exchange I have 69 to 90 days from today.

August 18th, I'm looking at you!

On my todo list is daily soil dampness checks, the purchase and placement of slow-release fertilizer, the purchase of a cage to allow the plant to grow and the research of anti-squirrel tactics.

Much like bacon and chocolate, I expect you will be seeing quite a bit about tomatoes.

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