Do not think for a second that I’m going to complain about the weather in California. I’m not. By any stretch of the imagination. No way, no day.
I love the weather in California. But I will say this: It doesn’t feel like tomato weather.
It’s chilly in the mornings here, and on the Fourth of July, I wore jeans and a sweater. “I’m used to sweating on the Fourth, not wearing a sweater,” I told a friend recently.
And so, as stories about tomatoes – gardeners who are tasting their first home-grown of the season, farmers’ market aficionados purchasing the perfect heirlooms, chefs adding them to their menus – proliferate around me, I find myself not having a craving for my absolute favorite vegetable-but-really-fruit. It’s not that I don’t love them, it’s that the weather cues I’m getting aren’t leading me to BLTs and panzanella and gazpacho. In fact, a little over a week ago, I bought some tomatoes at a local farmers’ market myself, but a little voice kept saying to me, “It’s too cold. They MUST be out of a greenhouse.”
Maybe they were, but they were downright tasty, which is why I have to start thinking much differently before I blink and have to wait until 2009 for the good stuff. There’s slow-roasting to do, and sauce to make. Even if I’m living in California and not Iowa, I understand the truth of it: if I want to take fresh tomatoes and turn them into sauce for the colder months (OK, those months won’t be that much colder, but still…), I have to start soon, or I’m going to be relegated to the jarred stuff.
My body is not calibrated to the combination of the vegetables of the season and this weather. But it’s time for mind over matter. Or, should I say, mind over to-matter?