While I no longer grow a huge garden like I did when we lived in Canada, I still love fresh produce. I am a regular at Winberry's Produce in Cedar Point. From the first strawberries to new potatoes, corn, and watermelon, I have enjoyed all of summer's treats this 2010.
The one thing that I still grow is tomatoes. In fact I have a contest with some friends each year to see who has the first ripe tomato. We had a little controversy this year, but I was dethroned as tomato king by my fishing buddy Dean. I was visiting with Dean and his wife. Gail, the other day, and he said that being king was not all it was cracked up to be.
In fact, he said that he suspected that I had put a curse on his tomatoes when he defeated me. Apparently his tomatoes are not producing well. I didn't say a lot since you don't want to kick a man when his tomatoes are having a hard time, but sometimes you lose a battle and win the war.
We have had one of the best tomato crops ever, and that includes many years of growing tomatoes. My luck with tomatoes comes from a lot of experience at the feet of some real masters. In fact I should probably excuse myself from the competition since I have such strong tomato growing bloodlines.
Still as you can tell from my tomato cornucopia even as the first part of the crop draws to a close, we are swimming in tomatoes. I have one plant that should be producing some nice tomatoes the last of July and early August. Then I have three plants which have been in the ground a few weeks which should take up the slack in September.
With some luck we could have tomatoes until December again. I did clean up our cherry tomato plant. I have been eating the last of those in my salads this week. I haven't decided whether to put another cherry tomato plant in the ground or not.
As we begin the road towards sweet potatoes which mark the last big local crop, I will take away some great memories this year. The blueberries have been as sweet as I have ever seen them in the US. I tasted Devotion corn for the first time, and it was as good or better than any corn I have ever had. Then there were those exceptional Bogue Sound watermelons which may have gotten their perfection from the dry month of June.
I feel really blessed to live in a place where it is possible to buy produce right off the farm and to still grow my own tomatoes.
Summer is a special treat when you get to eat great local produce and do it while sitting by the scenic waters of the Crystal Coast.
I am sorry that many of the feed grain crops of local farmers are in such bad shape, but as a former farmer, I know there is nothing you can do about the weather except wait for it to change. Apparently it has changed, since we have gotten more than six inches of rain since the beginning of July.
Perhaps the recent rains will make for great crops in the second half of the year. Those betting on great beach weather might be a little disappointed with those rains, but we all needed them.