All summer I've been watching my plants stretch upwards, bending with the weight of the fat green orbs they're hoisting skyward. The brown blight-spots would show up in rainy weeks, causing the gardener (me) to wince and bite her lip. Sunny days would come, the blight-spots would go. Just this week, the ripe ones have started rolling in, three or four at a time. I'm sure that doesn't sound like much to you lucky folks with big gardens, but bear in mind I have only ten plants.
They're not big, but goodness, they're delicious. Homegrown tomato season is so short, (and my luck with them admittedly not-so-great), that it's pure novelty to go out to the garden and pick a ripe one straight off the vine. All the rest of the year, our tomatoes come to us in canning jars and freezer bags, or else as handfuls of leathery sun-drieds or ladlefuls of sauce. If you think I feel I'm missing out on something, October through July, you'd be wrong.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Living without fresh tomatoes for most of the year turns waiting for the first ripe one into courtship. Walking to the garden one evening, I spy a red one hanging there seductively, daring to be noticed. My head turns the way it did in college, when a hottie would appear on the dance floor. It's almost flirtation: Well hello there, you sexy thing. Won't you come home to dinner? I wouldn't trade this for anything: the anticipation, the triumph, the glee. The taste.
Last night we simply halved some tomatoes, sprinkled them with feta, pepper, and coarse salt, and broiled them for twenty minutes. They come out darn near as sweet as peaches.