It’s such a tease, seeing these plump clusters of San Marzano tomatoes all taut on their sturdy little webbed veins. Each thick leaf is a perfect canopy over their waxy skins, protecting them from the scorching rays of the Valley’s sunshine. Each day these green nuggets begin to blush a little bit more. First, they’ll begin to morph into a burnt orange with spots of yellow. Then all at once their red blush comes to the surface. It’s tempting to pluck them here and now–I can tell there’s nothing hollow or seed-packed in these bundles; just walls of tender tomato flesh, dense and rich. I have to force myself to be patient as long as I can to wait until each turn its final shade of deep ruby red, where it cannot possibly become any more crimson. I imagine it will resemble the shades of the hipster-red lipstick that seems to be so haute this summer. Undeniably red and so of-the-moment.
Now nearly 7 feet tall, I’ve struggled to hoist these vines up into a supported shape. I’ve tied rope across the center to act as a belt, and have added multi-foot PCP pipe to act as a spine to the back vines (you can’t see, but behind those front bushes are a row of cherry tomatoes, yet to turn their color). It’s overwhelming and abundant, but I can only welcome it and be thankful. Last year, I had a foot tall anorexic twig, that offered 2 measly mealy tomatoes. I won’t be able to keep up with these fairly soon. It’s going to be incredible.
My basil is thriving. Screaming to be plucked for fresh pesto, tossed with penne, or smeared on a crostini with fresh burrata, or torn across a grilled pizzette… Basil-infused oil? What else can I do with tons of the leaves?
And I’ve harvested the last of my zucchini. Over-pumped with fertilizer steroids, these have been amazing to stuff with herbs and cheese, and marinated in citrus and herbs to grill and eat in light salads, with steaks, and stacked with goat cheese. Grazie, zucchini.
I want to think the success of the garden thus far extends beyond the perfect amounts of sun and shade, the fertilizer applied every two weeks, and the well balanced soil I amended before transplant. I want to believe these tomatoes have something they want to say, to brag about, and remind me that Italy is here, if I just look closely enough into the crimson and take a taste of the mediterranean sunshine…