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a love story

July 7, 2010

Oh wow. I was just surfing the net for info (read “reassurance”) about dry-farmed tomatoes. Being a viticulturist in Oregon, I had high hopes to dry farm our tomatoes this year, we had plenty of rain in the spring, our soils hold moisture well… and legend has it that dry-farmed tomatoes are far, far superior to regular tomatoes. The trick is, like grapes, to plant them deeply, and let the roots mine deep in the soil for moisture and minerals. AND DON’T WATER ALL SUMMER.  The resulting fruit is thick-skinned and concentrated and full of sugar, flavor, and antioxidants.

But it’s 98 degrees out and sunny, and breezy, and I was getting insecure about the whole endeavor. I’ve been watering everything else like crazy in advance of this heat wave, but leaving the tomatoes to fend for themselves. Is this tough love? I ALMOST caved and watered today… until I found this beautiful tomato love story:

It’s about Santa Cruz’s own Dirty Girl Produce and their dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes. I remember these tomatoes. Some of the best I’ve ever had. And reading this blog about them jogged my memory back to eating these beauties on the beach, thinking “THIS is the life.”

So, I’m holding fast. No water. My grape growing mentors would be proud. Someday… we’ll talk about tomatoes the way we talk about fine wines. Which vintage produced the most flavorful, succulent tomatoes… which tomatoes express terroir, which varieties produced the most transcendental sauces, which were enjoyed with a bit of basil on a sunny patio…

If my years in the wine industry have taught me nothing else, it’s that whatever we grow needs to be fully expressive. Consuming it should be an experience, and a celebration of life! Not watered-down, mass-produced and over-fertilized. So here’s to the grand tomato experiment. Stay strong, little tomatoes! We’ll be waiting…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. jon basile permalink*
    July 8, 2010 5:35 pm

    I like this one!!

  2. nadinelew permalink*
    July 8, 2010 6:14 pm

    you’re such a romantic.

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