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Tomatoes: A Still Life

by Sava

It’s been HOT!!! That’s for sure! From what I know about tomatoes, that’s what they need to thrive…and boy, are they thriving! Last summer we had a critter that would always, without fail, get to the ripe tomatoes before we did. If a tomato was “almost” ripe and we decided to leave it for one more day, inevitably, the next day, when we went back to pick it, “something” had already eaten it from the inside out! And I mean totally! Even large tomatoes! We had no clue what was doing that. We examined the plant, looking for some sort of caterpillar, but never found a trace! There were no holes in the tomatoes either. We knew the giant tomato worms typically ate the foliage, not the fruit, but scoured the plant looking even for those. Nothing!! We looked it up online and the answer seemed to be some sort of worm, as we suspected, but we could never find one anywhere on the plant. That mystery remained unsolved for the rest of the summer.

This year, we kind of prepared ourselves for that onslaught and in the beginning, as a few tomatoes started ripening, we would find an occasional one with a hole in it, or partially eaten, but nothing like last year’s devastation. My husband, Dan, decided it might be rats and set traps around the bottom of the plants. I didn’t think that was the answer because none of the plant branches were broken and it seemed to me a rat would be heavy enough to break a tomato branch! Well, some time later, and a few sprung traps later, the tomatoes seem to be surviving. We are a little “gun-shy” and tend to pick the tomatoes on that day when we think it needs “one more day” to ripen, instead of leaving them on the plant. We let them finish on the kitchen windowsill, where they will be safe from the marauding tomato-eating critters.

There is nothing like the flavor of home-grown tomatoes. A favorite Italian tomato salad is Insalata Caprese, which is sliced tomatoes layered with thin slices of mozzarella cheese, fresh basil leaves and drizzled with extra vigin olive oil. I do like this dish, but better yet, substitute Athenos Feta cheese for the mozzarella, oregano for the basil and add a splash of red wine vinegar to the olive oil. Love that combo! Must be the Greek in me…

Yassou! See you next time.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Dan July 26, 2013 at 2:25 pm

At least we are here to enjoy them this year!! We are usually leaving for vacation just when they are beginning to turn red…then everyone else gets them!!


georgia cone July 30, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Oh,those luscious Greek tomatoes! We’ll be feasting on them when we go to Greece in September!
In the meantime,the recipe for Domates Yemistes,Stuffed Tomatoes is on page 169 in our book
“A Greek Journey With Fork and Pen”.
Try it.You’ll be glad!
P.S. The photo of your tomatoes on the kitchen windowsill is beautiful!!!


Sava August 5, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Nothing like those Greek tomatoes! As much as we love our home-grown tomatoes they STILL aren’t as good as the ones in Greece! I don’t know what it is…maybe the soil is richer than ours!! It’s a mystery! Meanwhile, we will enjoy the ones we have here! Thanks for the compliment on the photo of our window sill. Did you notice the 2 artichokes? Dan planted one plant and we got only 2 artichokes. One of them burst into a gorgeous purple flower soon after that photo. Still picking lots of tomatoes!! And yes, that recipe, Stuffed Tomatoes, on page 169 of our book is well worth trying! Yassou!


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