Tomato gore

They are a perverse lot, tomatoes. One minute you're shouting at them to ripen up, the next you're begging people to take them before they decompose into pools of red gore.

This week faced with a basket of soggy beauties, I decided to make spaghetti sauce. But being mid-week and and lacking the fortitude to blanche, peel and seed tomotoes, here's what I did:

Recipe--Peels-and-all Spaghetti Sauce

1 dozen fresh tomatoes, cored and halved

5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 onion, chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

Red pepper flakes, a healthy pinch

1/2 cup chopped, fresh basil

3-4 Tbs of tomato paste

Salt to taste

Directions: Sautee garlic and onion in olive oil until translucent. Add red pepper flakes. Turn heat down to low and add tomatoes. Stew for about an hour, leaving the pot uncovered to allow sauce to reduce. Stir in basil and tomato paste. Grind to bloody pulp with an immersion blender.

Bon appetit!

Local tomato

Look at that fat, bulbous globe, ruddy as a drunk. And grown at 8,000 feet. By rights at this elevation it should be a stunted yellow ball.

The tomato comes from Meredith, who's been haying at the ranch. Meredith is the mother of 29 alpacas, seven goats, five chickens and four dogs. She has animals, we have grass, so this week she's been busy raking and hauling hay back to her growing herd. (A couple of the girls got themselves in the family way when "Mother" wasn't looking.)

Enroute to the ranch she stops at a neighbor's organic garden, who opens it to friends to have their pick. She's loaded us up with tender red-leaf lettuce, peppery arugala, miniature cucumbers and porky tomatoes--all tasting like earth, water and sun.

Now if we could only get our recalcitrant green fruits to ripen at home.

Farm Report: How green was my garden

Cherokee Purple Pole Tomatoes

Because this is Colorado, we spend the year eating California tomatoes that taste like wallpaper paste, wet, pink and mealy. So it is with great hope, anticipation and faith in the future that we plant tomatoes hoping to stack our sandwiches and punctuate our salads with the warm, salty taste of homegrown fruit.

We have enjoyed a blissful summer. Our neighborhood mercifully escaped the shredding hail that made coleslaw of my mother's roses and hammered farms and gardens across the Front Range. Mornings have been so temperate and cool that I don a sweatshirt most days to chase the morning chill. Rain has fallen regularly and like a benediction, fattening our yellow squash and prompting unprecented production from the usually recalcitrant basil plants.

But the tomatoes...our Roma's leaves have withered and yellowed as it squeezes out its sparse, small offerings. The slicers--finally--are trending a wan red. Tomatoes hang everywhere, like fat green moons, taunting us with their firm, verdant flesh.

The heirlooms are particularly egregious. All giant and viney and self-righteous, started as seeds by a neighbor, so ultra local and organic...and green!

Look at them. The Cherokee Purple Pole, Diener and Amy's Sugar Gem. They look like they're smiling, their round, olive faces mocking Mitch's efforts not to water too much or too little, to tether their wildness to stakes, allowing just that much new light to touch their shiny flanks.


Meanwhile, we wait.