From the vine...
...to my basket...
...to my plate.
In under three minutes.
This year's tomato crop has made the heat, humidity and general uncomfortable swampiness of this summer bearable. OK, almost bearable. There is just nothing like a homegrown tomato. My Dad and I have long, lingering conversations all winter about missing real tomatoes, just minutes from the vine. (Those pink, rubbery grocery store things? NOT real tomatoes.) He saves a few five-gallon buckets of his tomato crop for me and helps me freeze them for using in soups and sauces. He and Mom can zillions of quarts of tomato juice and salsa and sauces. And while it's nice in the middle of February to see those beautiful jars lined up on the shelves and open your freezer to bags and bags of ruby-red beauty, it's just not the same. You can't get that lovely, acidic explosion and the taste of dirt, sunshine and heat in every bite from a jar or a freezer.
Now is the time. Tomato time. And I'm soaking it in.