Did I mention the cupboard still brimming with jars of marinara and puttanesca sauces, pureed tomatoes, and diced tomatoes? The blobs of tomato paste in the freezer? Apparently I've forgotten how I complained about "the tyranny of the tomato patch" as I picked and pureed and simmered
my way through August. September. October. (It was a long season.)
I rationalize. I had such great luck with the heirloom varieties (Goliath, Anna Russian, Costoluto, and Marmande) last summer that I can't resist trying them again. I even grew this beauty!
How can I not try for a 20-ouncer this year?
But if this year turns out to be a "cabbage summer" the big beautiful heirloom varieties won't ripen so I need a couple of San Marzanos for sauce, even though I prefer the Costolutos. And if it's a really chilly damp summer, I know I can rely on Ferline and Legend to fight the blight, and for Sungella to ripen no matter what. The obligatory new variety, Mr. Stripey aka Tigerella, promises great yields and wonderful flavor in only 57 days.
I thought I was done with cherry tomatoes but last fall I discovered a method for oven-drying tomatoes and I've been enjoying them all winter in salads, scattered over roasted vegetables, pureed to flavor stews, and just for snacking on.
Finally there are the seeds for a variety from the Azores, Coracao de bois, a gift from a fellow gardener. I can't wait to see how it performs in the Pacific Northwest, but no matter what, it will be a reminder of a lovely afternoon with one of my favorite garden bloggers.
Did I mention the hereditary nature of this disease? I remember my mother used to start literally hundreds of tomatoes in the house every spring. They covered every window sill and the dining room table. I have reason to suspect at least one of my siblings is similarly afflicted.
I guess until they find a cure for Lycopersicomania I'll be grateful for fellow gardeners who seem happy to take my extra plants off my hands. And I guess we'll be having pasta with tomato sauce for dinner tonight. Gotta' use it up in the next 4 months!