I’M afraid to even say this out loud because I don’t want to jinx it. But a few weeks ago, at the very beginning of tomato season, I ate a perfect heirloom. The flesh was taut; the juices fragrant. It was the first excellent local tomato I’d eaten in a long time. And perhaps more shocking, the next day I ate another one.
After several less-than-stellar tomato seasons (late blight; biblical floods), it looks as if the New York area is finally in for a good crop this summer. Just go to your farmers’ market and behold the bounty, even before its late-August peak. Tomatoes of every shape, hue and size, from pea-size cherries to fat red beefsteaks, are waiting to be lunch.
“This is shaping up to be a classic tomato season,” said Bill Maxwell, owner of Maxwell’s Farm in Changewater, N.J. The first plantings have been extremely productive and fine-flavored, he told me. It turns out the oppressive heat that has been making subway riders miserable is actually beneficial if you’re a tomato. They like the hot weather, growing faster and sweeter because of it.
Another greenmarket vendor, Susie Dare of Cherry Lane Farms in Bridgeton, N.J., is jubilant. “I can’t speak for anyone else, but we are having a great tomato season,” she said. “Our plants just keep producing and producing.”
The prospects are just as good for backyard gardeners across the nation, as long as they remember to water often or have a drip irrigation system. Conditions vary from region to region, but generally, the most prevalent one, the crazy heat, is not a problem. http://ow.ly/cM9ui