Wednesday, September 29, 2010
seeds of construction
Summer is having a fitful death in Oregon.
The last few days have started out cloudy. But the humidity promised high temperatures by noon. And Mother Nature delivered.
Septembers are usually pleasant in the Willamette Valley. What is missing this year is that sharp coolness in the morning. Reminding us that Jack Frost's wand is not far off.
But it also means great tomatoes.
One thing I have missed in Mexico is high quality tomatoes. Melaque offers excellent fruit and vegetable choices. With the noticeable exception of tomatoes. Most of the tomatoes are as tasteless as the sad choices at my local Safeway.
And, of course, most of the year in Oregon, that is what we are stuck with. Tomatoes that are indistinguishable from the hard and tasteless nectarines on the neighboring shelf.
But not in September. That is when the heirloom tomatoes are at their finest. And, usually, at a premium. When my Safeway has them, they usually run around $12 (USD) a pound.
The best place to buy heirloom tomatoes is at the local Saturday Market -- a few blocks from my house. The tomatoes are fresh from the field. But they usually cost about the same as Safeway's offerings.
Not this last Saturday. Due to some unseasonably early rains, the tomato (and wine grape) harvest suffered. I ran into one small retailer who was trying to move the last of his inventory -- at $2 (USD) a pound. A real bargain.
I grabbed a few treasures and scurried home with them -- where they became the star attractions in a Greek salad. The best I have had on my trip north this year.
What I now need to do is grow some of my own heirloom tomatoes in Mexico. Jennifer Rose found some heirlooms in Morelia. She saved the seeds and started her own crop.
The last thing I need in Mexico is to be tied to a vegetable garden. After all, I have put off buying a dog until I get the travel bug out of my system. But I should be able to deal with a few tomato plants.
This weekend, I will pick up a few overripe tomatoes, dry the seeds, and slip them across the border in November.
It may turn out to be the best of both worlds.