It’s that time of year when I want - no, I crave - what I can’t have - fresh, home grown tomatoes. Never has the thought of biting into a red, juicy tomato sounded so good and so far away. It’s true that tomatoes are available from other places even in the cold, dreary days of winter, but they aren’t real tomatoes. I think they are really made out of cardboard. Real tomatoes are grown in the ground, nurtured by the sun and caressed by warm breezes.
The best tomatoes come from John’s Island, South Carolina - down near Charleston. John’s Island is the largest producer of tomatoes in this country. I am fortunate that my favorite daughter lives there and, if I can visit during tomato season, she has a bagful waiting for me when I arrive. There is nothing better than a tomato sandwich for breakfast, tomatoes on a salad for lunch and sliced tomatoes for dinner. Yummmm - combine those tomatoes with fresh corn on the cob and a big glass of sweet tea and you have a real, finger-licking meal - no meat needed, thank you.
Since it isn’t tomato season in South Carolina yet, I have to make do with a box of those Santa Sweet tomatoes from the grocery store. Not high on taste, they are still better than the hot house variety from other countries that are stacked waist high in the display cases.
Wishing for spring made me think of tomatoes, which made me almost drool thinking of a good pasta salad. So what if it’s still technically winter! I am going to have pasta salad for dinner - multi-color rotini tossed with Italian dressing (fat free, of course) and chopped Santa Sweet tomatoes, green peppers, onions and a few dried cranberries. It’s not the same as an in-season salad, but it will do until spring comes.