Back­yard Bless­ing

I can’t wait to start fry­ing up the first green toma­toes of the sea­son.

Country - - CONTENTS - BY ERICA WACHTER Stamp­ing Ground, Ken­tucky

There it is—the first to­mato of the sea­son. Hang­ing pre­car­i­ously from the vine in our veg­etable gar­den, its smooth green sur­face shines in the hot June sun.

My hus­band, Jason, has sought out this to­mato’s ex­is­tence for a few weeks now. Friends and fam­ily mem­bers have al­ready claimed to have toma­toes grow­ing in their gar­dens. Fi­nally Jason can join the ranks of the “Yup, I got toma­toes grow­ing” gar­den­ing-world banter.

There is just one prob­lem: I want that to­mato. And I want it as green as can be, not red.

Jason’s lov­ing, sup­port­ive wife wants to pluck that to­mato from the vine be­fore the first hints of blush­ing red ever ap­pear. We are in the gar­den when we dis­cover the green to­mato to­gether. Jason in­stantly re­grets point­ing it out to me, our eyes lock­ing as soon as the words are out of his mouth. His eyes are filled with re­gret, mine with ex­cite­ment.

I love fried green toma­toes. I dip the thin slices in egg, roll them in Weisen­berger Mill flour and plunge them into a skil­let of hot, pop­ping grease. A sign of a true South­erner is if you can take some­thing good for you, such as a to­mato, and turn it into some­thing that is bla­tantly un­healthy. Con­sider one of my fa­vorites—the wilted salad. What ge­nius ever thought of us­ing ba­con grease as a dress­ing for a salad? A south­ern ge­nius, of course!

Last year I pestered my hus­band so much for the first green to­mato that our neigh­bor took pity on me and gave me some of his own.

Jason prob­a­bly wouldn’t mind me tak­ing the first one if he thought I’d stop there. I think his big­gest fear is that he will come home from work one day and see the plants stripped of all their green toma­toes.

There’s just some­thing about bit­ing into the tangy, bat­ter-dipped good­ness. And of course the first pick of the gar­den is al­ways the best. But re­sist I must. I will leave the first green to­mato in the gar­den for it to ripen. Af­ter all, Jason is the one who tills the soil, plants the plants and deals with the gen­eral up­keep of the gar­den.

As sum­mer wears on, I’ll have my pick of the toma­toes. And I know they will all be ab­so­lutely de­li­cious; they came from my own lit­tle patch of the world.

Erica and Jason can agree on one thing— home­grown toma­toes are a de­li­cious treat.

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