Tomato Harvest, Kind of

Tomato Harvest

Yesterday, before a crackingly good thunderstorm knocked out power in Roxbury, CT, for more than three hours, The One went out into the garden (well, the euphemistic garden because its no bigger than a toddler’s wadding pool) and gathered our first tomato harvest. A total of 18 cherry tomatoes; 20 if you count the two we ate. This is the fruits of our labor after weeks of carefully plucking off suckers; talking to the plants, telling them as Marlo Thomas told all of us, that they, too, were “free to be you and me”;  staking them; and generally doting on them as much as we do our two cats?

I know they’ll be more, but I remember when I was a kid and my father would bring in bushels of globe tomatoes every few days from the garden. (Not to mention corn, potatoes, peppers, kale, cabbage, peach, pears, and three kinds of apples.) There were so many tomatoes, I was instantly dispatched to bring bagfuls to my aunts and uncles, our neighbors—anyone, in fact, in a 10-mile radius who liked them. The weird thing is he reaped that bounty from something like five plants. So I figured our three four-foot-tall plants would bless us with more fruit this summer than we would know what to do with. But, no. There’s barely enough in this batch to make a hostess gift for our friend, Ellen, who’s creating a lakeside dinner for a bunch of us tonight. And even as I write this, The One just devoured three more.

Fifteen to go.

The euphemistic garden, though, hasn’t been a total waste, and my father would be proud. There are bunches—nay, shrubs—of parsley and basil. I can’t make enough chimichurri sauce and pesto to keep up. The nasturtium is going berserk, and the thyme is doing well, too. Only the cilantro died a untimely death (partly because I drove over it with the lawn mower), which is unfortunate as it’s such an important ingredient in Portuguese cooking. So now I have to grit my teeth as I buy little non-biodegradable Styrofoam packets of the stuff at ShopRite for a mini fortune.

But the tomatoes. Our luscious-looking little globes of sweetness. There are now only 13 left. (My bad.) I fear you won’t make it to lunch. So I’ll sit here, a kind of desk-side vigil, as you slowly slip away. Well, are slowly murdered by two hungry souls who are too tired to find a befitting end for you: a cherry tomato–goat cheese tart, perhaps? Or a raw cherry tomato-garlic sauce for fresh pasta? Not even a simple cherry tomato–feta cheese salad?

We may not have honored you, you pathetically small yield, but, damn it, we certainly have enjoyed you.

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