Growing your own
Tonight’s dinner is as simple as can be: Three plum tomatoes, sliced, tossed with minced basil and garlic and dressed with a gloss of olive oil and the slightest sprinkling of salt. A piece of locally baked (Great Harvest) whole-grain bread with good Tillamook butter. A glass of crisp, honey-scented pinot gris from Elk Cove winery, just up the valley in Gaston.
A light meal, but one of great significance, because those tomatoes are the very first ones to ripen in this year’s garden.
I’ve been eating from the garden for over a month now, mostly raspberries and container-grown strawberries that just won’t quit bearing. The herbs, planted in an assortment of containers, are going like gangbusters this season, too. I’ve just finished drying the garlic I planted last fall.
But it’s the tomatoes that make me feel like a Real Gardener, even though my habits are less than diligent and my ambitions modest. After a disappointing season last summer, this year’s tomatoes – six plants, each a different heirloom variety – are starting to produce what looks like it could be a bumper crop. Helped, no doubt, by the fact that my neighbor let me remove a limb from his big-leaf maple that had gradually turned my full-sun raised bed into a morning-sun-only spot.
Now that the sun is back, the tomatoes are going nuts. I’m already eyeballing the beefsteak-style varieties, green though they still are, with visions of tomato sandwiches dancing in my head.