The CSA: Weeks 12 and 13

Tomato soup. BLTs. Salad garnish. Toasted tomato and basil with mozzarella. Sandwich toppings. Straight tomatoes with salt.

Last week’s CSA and this weeks are nearly identical – corn, potatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, peppers, carrots. Each bag shows up with a wide display of colors, each week a promise of more freshness. Oh, and tomatoes. So many tomatoes.

Raw. Broiled. Sliced. Whole. Tomatoes are coming out of our ears. With our garden exploding in a fireworks display of green, orange and red, and with the ol’ CSA ramping up its collection of actual usable vegetables, including, of course, tomatoes, we’re nearly drowning in the Fruit that Would Be Called Veggie.

They’re the crown jewel of the growing season, in most cases – a perfect combination of ease, versatility and taste. We have several different kinds throughout our garden – Roma, full, three different types of heirloom – and we have a cornucopia of tomatoes spilling out on our counter; red, orange, yellow, green, like a terror alert scale gone wrong. Unfortunately, one that’s nearly always peaking on red.

And here’s the paradox. I’m greedy. I want them all. I don’t want to give any away.

Oh, don’t worry. I’m forcing myself to part with some of them. I know I couldn’t possibly eat them all, and our family is only so big. We could have tomatoes for every meal and still make an unidentifiable dent.

So we’ve been handing them to our family, offering them to friends, always with my hands over my eyes, my fingers crossed behind my back, unable to believe the words coming out of my mouth. “What am I doing,” I find myself saying afterwards. “These are royalty, these tomatoes, the most valuable vegetables in the stash!”

I get over it. Eventually. I only hoard because I understand that, when we’re out of town, the garden will be picked clean. Family will arrive like vultures to snatch away the forgotten fruits. We welcome this, but I can’t help but think that everyone would be a lot happier if we’d just go away on vacation for a month or so, leaving the garden wide open, free for the taking, simply lousy with tomatoes and the people who love them.

Don’t ask. We have too many tomatoes. Yet, it never seems like we have enough.

This was lovingly handwritten on August 25th, 2008