Home Garden: Tomatoes

The purpose of a home garden brings about different reasons for all of us.  Many can look to our family heritage and traditions handed down by each generation to support and feed the family.  Friends use gardening as a tool to relieve anxiety and the challenges we experience in our daily lives. In my experience, it is not one reason alone that draws us to our backyard gardens but a combination of personal thoughts and feelings that allows a garden to flourish.

For me, the home garden stirs childhood memories spending early mornings with my mother weeding and poking around the garden in search of the next hidden surprise that we could harvest and bring to the kitchen.

One of the fondest memories I have growing up was the joy and excitement brought about by picking the first vine ripe tomatoes of the season with mom. To this day, I vividly remember the tomatoes being warm from the afternoon sun and smell of the vines, even after all the years that have passed I can’t harvest tomatoes from the garden and not have that memory coming racing to mind.

Our ritual would be the first meal – tomato sandwiches! Mom always had grandma’s homemade bread ready and waiting, lightly toasted to ‘just’ golden brown.  A generous slathering of mayo for both sides of the bread and then we piled on thick slices of tomatoes with a hint a salt. The first bite never ceased to amaze us and always brought a smile to our faces. Now that I am in the kitchen the routine hasn’t changed; the only difference is that now we each have our own gardens and I must call Mom and share the memories while we talk on the phone.

Tomatoes bring back memories every season, and they provide a launching point for creating other delectable dishes. A favorite of our team is the sweet 100’s and sun gold tomatoes. We love them so much we dedicated a bruschetta recipe to them and paired them with our Layer Cake Rosé of Pinot Noir.

The ‘summer’ gardening days are over; however, it is not official until a gathering of family and friends to grab the last flats of tomatoes from the vines for canning.  A ‘harvest party’ of sorts, complete with our favorite bottles of Layer Cake Wine, that allows us to capture tomatoes in all their glory to enjoy during the winter days ahead.