Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Yes, it's tomato time. It's my favorite time of the year (except for Christmas). And I recall that my mom always planted tomatoes, and we enjoyed the fruits of her labors for the whole year. During the summer we enjoyed raw tomatoes and during the winter we enjoyed the canned tomatoes she put up the previous summer.

Mom's tomato garden was between the garage and the back of the church. At the time I lived there it was fenced, about 15 x 15 and she grew tomatoes, basil, green beans (not a whole lot), zucchini, lettuce (Bibb), and probably some other stuff that I just can't recall.

But now it's my time to BUY tomatoes. It's the time of year I make friends (again) with the local farmers -- those who sell at Lunken Airport. I went to the same tomato farmer for over 25 years. He died, so I picked up another one after that, and I've been visiting his stand for about 10 years now. He's Marty.

And Mr. Schneider is the corn man. He's been selling his corn from his truck (along with melons) for the entire 35 years we've lived here. He's really getting old and his children are helping him. But he and his wife are there every day asking: "What can I get you, honey?" And I get my usual 12 ears (13 actually) of the best corn around here -- not as good as Jersey corn, or the Jersey corn I remember-- and two cantaloupes, so sweet and luscious, and a couple of cucumbers.

Then I hop over to the next stand and get my zucchini and my peppers and some onions. All fresh picked.

Yesterday I really lucked out. My tomato farmer had been to North Caroline over the weekend and picked up the best peaches. I recall my mom always sugaring the sliced peaches to make them sweet enough for dessert. These peaches need absolutely no sugar. And they are so juicy, you really need a paper towel when you eat one.

So, I'm thinking about all these wonderful fruits and vegetables, and I fondly recall the days when my mom grew her own.



Lori said...

Finally have some flowers on my tomato plant. Can't WAIT for the tomatoes to come!! We got some corn a couple weeks ago at the local Farmer's Market. It was delicious. Nothing like the fresh produce of summer!

Rose said...

I need to can some of mine- I actually got more than just a few this year!! We used heritage tomato plants and they have been so good- still not as good as your mum's Jersey tomatoes, though.
love and miss you!