“Knowledge consists of knowing that tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.” Miles Kington

Bowl of Cherries

Three types of cherry tomatoes, ready for soup!

Summer flew by and went out with a heat wave! The tomatoes and peppers are enjoying the crazy weather, though. The cherry tomatoes are so prolific we’ve been giving a large share to the chickens (who love them!) and, of course, making tons of dried tomatoes and tomato soup. Now that the bigger varieties are finally ripening, chili, Caprese salad and salsa are the order of the day! I wish you could taste this salsa–oh so good!

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Tomatoes for salsa. Almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

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A mix of “Hillbilly Potato Leaf” and “Tasty Evergreen” tomatoes with “Sweet Chocolate” bell peppers and “Hot Rod” Serrano peppers.

If any of you are interested, the salsa is pretty simple to make.

Fresh Heirloom Tomato Salsa

2-3 large ripe tomatoes (approx. 2-3 c.), cored and chopped – garden fresh heirlooms are the way to go here!

1/2 c. onion, finely diced

1/2 c. bell pepper, finely diced

1-2 large cloves of garlic, minced

1-2 Serrano peppers, minced

juice of 1 lime and a little of the zest (just a sprinkle)

1/2 t. salt (more or less to taste)

1/4 t. freshly ground pepper

1 T. fresh cilantro, chopped (I’ve substituted fresh basil with good results, too)

Mix everything together and let it sit in the refrigerator for an hour or two… IF you can even make it to the fridge before it’s gobbled up! If you have any left over, it’s great in chili. Or just the juice, if the salsa’s gone…

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Buddy says “whatcha gonna do with all those tomatoes?”

I didn’t feel like we had a really big garden but we really seemed to get a lot out of it. Being in Door County can make growing things like peppers challenging and the rainy start to the season didn’t help. Despite these obstacles, we managed to get a decent harvest of bell peppers, chili peppers, basil, thyme, sage, broccoli and kale. Brussels sprouts, cabbages, onions, melons and beets are still filling out, but it won’t be long now. The tomatoes really outdid themselves and more than made up for the limited amounts of peppers.

If it came down to it, my husband and I could probably eat decently for at least two or three months on just what we’ve been able to put by from our little homestead. Admittedly, towards the end we would find out just how many ways one could eat eggs, onions and tomatoes! Some items, like the herbs and dried tomatoes will likely last us into next harvest season.

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Our garden

A few of you might be thinking “well, great for you if you like gardening but I just don’t have the time.” I get where you’re coming from. As much as I enjoy planning and potting and planting I don’t want to spend all my time doing it. With that view in mind, we did raised garden beds to cut down on weed problems and save our backs a little. We fenced our beds in. We did companion planting and planted natural pyrethrins and bug-repelling plants, like Alliums, to help reduce bugs. We still had to deal with pests and remove weeds but it was much, much easier!

If you’re still thinking “nuts to that!” then swing by your local farmers market and help out those people that do like to get their fingers in the soil. You will be very happy (and lucky!) if you can get your hands on some of the lovely heirloom tomatoes pictured above. Support your local small-scale farmers!

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