The Inadvertent Gardener Rotating Header Image

Mind over to-matter

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?

15 Comments on “Mind over to-matter”

  1. #1 Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)
    on Jul 25th, 2008 at 6:18 am

    It’s 90 and humid here after two days of torrential rain, so if I had any tomatoes in my garden, they’d be floaters by now! Get thee to the farmers’ market and start making those slow-roasted tomatoes to keep in your freezer this winter. You’ll be so happy you did!

  2. #2 inadvertentgardener
    on Jul 25th, 2008 at 7:24 am

    Lydia, you’re absolutely right — and I’ll be making that happen this weekend.

  3. #3 Ayse
    on Jul 25th, 2008 at 8:10 am

    It’s microclimates, not greenhouses! If you drive over the hills Eastward, you will get to the Land of Tomatoes (some call this Sacratomato).

    Of course, in Alameda I grow plenty of nice tomatoes all summer long — the plants last until late November or later because of our mild winters, so you can have vine-ripened tomatoes for a lot longer.

  4. #4 inadvertentgardener
    on Jul 25th, 2008 at 8:21 am

    Ayse, oh, yes…Sacratomato. And yes — Alameda is like a land unto its own! The whole microclimate thing is such an interesting thing to me…it’s really quite amazing!

  5. #5 GardenGuru
    on Jul 25th, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    I’m also not too stoked about the weather this season. I’ve been working on a liriope groundcover. They are usually pretty low-maintenance, but I need some rain!

  6. #6 Sally
    on Jul 26th, 2008 at 3:29 am

    LOLOL! You crack me up!

  7. #7 SpaceAgeSage
    on Jul 26th, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    Just stopping by from Liz Strauss’s Blog Show.

    I just had my first fried green tomatoes of the season. Now that’s good food!

  8. #8 horsewoman
    on Jul 26th, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    fortunately here .. we have both farmer’s market (albeit a short season in montana ).. but we have a greenhouse on our property… so happy dance :)


  9. #9 debroby
    on Jul 26th, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    Had my first bacon, avocado and tomato salad tonight with wonderfully ripe, fresh-picked tomatoes. As Ayse pointed out, the central valley is much hotter and grows wonderful tomatoes. Next farmer’s market take advantage of any cool weather for slow roasting, and next heat wave enjoy the BLTs.

  10. #10 PrairieRobin
    on Jul 28th, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    I thought of you the other day while I was counting all the lovely (green) beefsteak tomatoes on my four plants. I wasn’t sure how ‘maters would do here in Iowa, but they seem to be thriving. My plans for a huge veggie garden went by the wayside when I had to make a trip to Virginia in the middle of June, peak garden time. So I managed to stick 4 tomatoes and 3 cucumber vines in amongst my flowers and begged my husband to try to remember to give them some water. Can’t wait for my first harvest!

  11. #11 inadvertentgardener
    on Jul 28th, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    GardenGuru, that’s the thing about rain — it’s never there when you need it, and when you don’t need it, there’s too much of it. Go figure…

    Sally, thanks!

    SpaceAgeSage, I adore fried green tomatoes. ADORE them.

    Horsewoman, are the ones from the greenhouse as good as the sun-ripened kind?

    Debroby, as it turns out (I checked this theory tonight), I do not require a heat wave to enjoy a good BLT. Had my first one tonight, which means, no doubt, that I’ll be eating them as fast as I can in the coming days. I’ve broken the seal.

    PrairieRobin, ‘maters go great in Iowa, as long as you keep them away from the black walnut trees! I’m glad you’re getting some veggies in this summer — even without a huge garden, the payoff is mighty!

  12. #12 chigiy
    on Jul 29th, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    You need to come down to the south bay next July.
    I promise you will sweat.
    It’s hot—but it’s a dry heat.

  13. #13 inadvertentgardener
    on Jul 30th, 2008 at 7:19 am

    Chigiy, I need to come down to the South Bay when the butterflies are migrating AND next July! :-)

  14. #14 Grape tomatoes redeem themselves « The Inadvertent Gardener
    on Aug 1st, 2008 at 5:30 am

    [...] 1, 2008 Food , Fruit , Uncategorized I just want to report, for the record, that I’m over the whole it’s-too-cold-to-eat-tomatoes thing. This week’s diet has included caprese salad (including for breakfast, and don’t you dare judge [...]

  15. #15 Grape tomatoes redeem themselves « The Inadvertent Gardener
    on Oct 9th, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    [...] August 1, 2008 Food , Fruit I just want to report, for the record, that I’m over the whole it’s-too-cold-to-eat-tomatoes thing. This week’s diet has included caprese salad (including for breakfast, and don’t you dare judge [...]

Leave a Comment