Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Salad Time!

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.


John Earl Spencer said...

The best tomatoes ever were grown on the Spencer farm near Crossville, Illinois. Huge, red, tree tomatoes...not too meaty, thin skinned and as succulent as watermelon without the sweetness. Yet, they were sweet and not too acidic. The ones I grew were called John Earl Tomatoes. I used sucker rods from the oil fields to stake them as they would grow far above my head. DEEEEEEEELICIOUS with milk gravy for breakfast, a side dish for lunch or to top a homegrown Angus hamburger with Velveeta Cheese (yes, I liked Velveeta as it plugged my arteries) or simply a couple of sandwiches of tomato, whole wheat bread with a little goat cheese and basil topping. Lord, Girl, you make we want to crawl back about fifty years to the farm life.

As for you, I think you need to stop that sweet tea immediately. It is making you silly and onery. Should you continue as your willful self, you will be a diabetic in no time...and Marty and I will have to drop you from our 'dating' list unless you can come up with some John Earl Tomatoes.


Sweet Tea

Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG said...

John, you are such a sweet talker! Does the talk of those succulent tomatoes make you want to make that 2000 trek back to the land of your birth?

stephenmccallister said...

What? John Earl Spencer return to the tri-state area here? I will believe that when I see it. HA.