Recently, we have been enjoying some local tomatoes, grown right here in the Nyack area. And by local, I mean from a garden down the street. An elderly neighbor (who asked, quite understandably, that I not use his name or exact location for my questionable blogging purposes) sells tomatoes from a cement platform at the end of his driveway and They. Are. Scrumptious.
Despite any of my former proclamations that “Fresh Dill is the Taste of Summer” or that “Fresh Cilantro is the Taste of Summer” I would like to revise this to now say that, “These Tomatoes are the Official Taste of Summer.” They are juicy, they are sweet, and you can see the garden where they are grown and harvested as you are driving by.
This kindly gentleman cares for approximately 70 sturdy plants in his side yard. In the 44 years since he first started growing tomatoes, he has clearly perfected his craft. We’re talking about some hefty stakes, deer-proof fencing and at least one well-used wheelbarrow. He told me that that he used to work in Manhattan and once he retired, he started selling his tomatoes and a few eggplants and cucumbers to fill his time. (May we all produce such splendors after we “stop” working.)
So far, Rob and I have chopped these beauties into Greek salad and folded them into omelets with Gouda and Herbs de Provence, but really, I think they are best enjoyed sliced and pretty much au natural.
My parents used to grow tomatoes back in Wisconsin. I remember that they served them with a healthy herb mix called Spike sprinkled over top. I went to Back to Earth Health food store in Nyack to see if this product was still on the market. Sure enough, Spike Salt Free Magic was displayed right there next to the other spices and herbs:
Turns out this natural seasoning is actually made in Wisconsin (so many great things are, eh hem) and according to the packaging, includes “37 flavorful herbs, exotic spices and vegetables that will turn every meal into a gourmet delight without the salt or calories!”
Indeed, it tastes just like I remember: predominantly like celery, garlic and mustard seed, but more complex. I think it adds a perfect
zing spike to fresh summer tomatoes.
After I unscrewed the cap and began a’sprinkling, our salt and pepper pigs wandered over to see what all the fuss was about. (Thank you to my friend Susan for this handsome little pair – another excellent birthday gift!)
So if you’re in the Nyack area, and happen to see a crate of tomatoes at the end of a driveway, presided over by a scale and an affable older gentleman, I highly recommend that you pull over, and support a local farmer. And just in case you aren’t lucky enough to stumble upon this small-scale goodness, you can of course support local farmers with slightly larger operations every Thursday at the Nyack Farmer’s Market.