The winner

Gold medal ripeningIt was the biggest tomato I had ever seen.

Tucked down low on my Gold Medal plant, behind just enough leaves that I didn’t notice it at first, sat the monster. This thing was the tomato equivalent of a baseball bat zucchini: one day it was just a little blossom, and the next thing I knew, it had morphed into a fruit that required me to stretch my hand just to hold it.

It turned yellow, then red streaks blushed up its sides. It was the most beautiful tomato I may have ever seen.

After I finally noticed it, I began planning for its demise. Its delicious, delicious demise. This was the tomato for which I had waited all my life, and I was going to enjoy every bite of it. No sharing, no invitations to friends.

Mine. All mine.

But what to do? I thought. Caprese salad? BLT?

I’d like to say I spend very little time debating between those two options, but in July and August, that’s just not the case. The more tomatoes, the better, as far as I’m concerned.

I worried about this tomato as if it were a sick pet. I watched for signs of impending breakage, worried about attacks by stray rodents, moved the leaves aside so it would get plenty of sunshine.

When I went to harvest the tomato, I discovered an interesting fact. I’d worried so much about how heavy it was, but when it came down to it, that sucker was attached so firmly I thought I was going to have to uproot the plant to get it off. It required garden shears to detach it. One clean cut, and it dropped into my hand with a satisfying smack.

Giant Gold Medal tomato

Giant BLTI admired it awhile. I left in on the windowsill for 24 hours, just so I could walk into the kitchen and smile at it. I would like to say I don’t feel lust in my heart for tomatoes, and I can honestly say that I don’t feel lust in my heart for all tomatoes, but this one? It was inspiring.

When it came time to make the decision about how to eat it, it was a Wednesday, which meant I had good bread from my CSA. That ordinarily would have tipped the decision in favor of going the BLT route, and it did…until I finished slicing enough tomato for my overstuffed sandwich. That’s when I realized I had about 75 percent of the tomato left.

My solution? Caprese salad too. And a repeat of the same combination the next night. That’s right, folks. That tomato made it through two huge caprese salads and two giant BLTs. And it was just as good as I thought it would be.

23 Responses to “The winner”

  1. 1 Kalyn August 16, 2007 at 7:39 pm

    Wow, that’s an impressive tomato! I just had my first Brandywine tomato sandwich tonight. Just Jack Spratt bread, tons of mayo, a HUGE slice of tomato (one slice covered the whole piece of bread) and sea salt. It was fantastic. I know you understand just what I mean.

  2. 2 inadvertentgardener August 16, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    Kalyn, I totally understand! So glad you finally got the right tomato for the job, and I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  3. 3 betsy August 16, 2007 at 8:20 pm

    i would have made you a leash for your giant tomato and then you could have walked the guy around the neighborhood…

  4. 4 Lydia August 16, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    Genie, that’s a thing of beauty! Congratulations.

  5. 5 steven August 16, 2007 at 9:20 pm

    Oh man, what a tomato. Good thing you beat the critters to it.

  6. 6 anniebetty August 16, 2007 at 9:43 pm


  7. 7 Katiez August 17, 2007 at 2:16 am

    What a gorgeous tomato! A plate, fork and salt….maybe some pepper and I would have been happy! I think they taste better after suitable time for admiration!

    On the other hand…. I WANT FAIR FOOD! I haven’t had a corn dog or a pickle on a stick in 10 years! The French may have fine dining down pat but they haven’t a clue when it comes to ‘junk food to eat whilst walking’. I mean, they take the corn OFF the cob….

  8. 8 Katiez August 17, 2007 at 2:16 am

    When they even stoop so low as to eat corn, I mean…pig food, after all!

  9. 9 anniebetty August 17, 2007 at 6:55 am

    Katiez … crepes with nutella? sucre?

    But that is the only one I can think of.

  10. 10 inadvertentgardener August 17, 2007 at 9:37 am

    Betsy, it would have loved that. Totally.

    Lydia, thank you! I wish I could have entered it in the Fair, but it was a little early, I think.

    Steven, the critters would have been in, well, mad trouble if they had gotten to it first.

    AB, thank you! And I really appreciate your kicking off a craving for crepes with Nutella. Thanks. Thank you very much.

    Katiez, the French are pretty fabulous on a lot of food things, but not ALL food things. :-)

  11. 11 kate August 17, 2007 at 9:49 am

    Now that is one amazing tomato! I was surprised to read how far it went – lucky you. I’m contenting myself with cherry tomatoes … they definitely don’t quite go far enough for a BLT.

    Glad you enjoyed it.

  12. 12 inadvertentgardener August 17, 2007 at 11:46 am

    Kate, yeah, cherry tomatoes and BLTs don’t really go all that well together. But cherries are so much fun to eat…I really wish I’d grown more of them this year.

  13. 13 Ms. Tart August 17, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    Holy cow! When I saw the first pic, I was going to complain that you didn’t have something to scale it against. But then you had that pic of it in your hand. That is a seriously impressive tomato!

    Also, I disagree about cherry tomatoes in BLTs – I think they’re tasty that way. Their only problem is that they tend to fall out of the sandwich a lot. But lately I’ve been making BLT salads, which circumvent that problem. I use lots of lettuce (usually baby greens or arugula), halved cherry tomatoes, fresh bacon bits, and maybe some avocado and top the whole thing with a dressing made from mayo thinned with a little red wine vinegar. It’s a great way to have a BLT if you want a little more vegetable matter or if you’re doing a low-carb thing (and carb-lovers can also just add fresh-toasted croutons).

  14. 14 inadvertentgardener August 17, 2007 at 1:05 pm

    You know, Ms. Tart, I really shouldn’t judge the cherry tomato in the BLT…I honestly don’t think I’ve ever tried it. But I do really like the sound of your salad — that sounds like it rules.

  15. 15 Jeanne August 17, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    What a thing of beauty, Genie!

  16. 17 Tiya August 17, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    I would imagine cherry tomatoes on a blt to be a little like trying to stick slices of slick pepperoni to it. So, perhaps if you melt some cheese, or have a sauce of some sort, (the cheese would probably work better) the wee things will have something to stick to, and won’t be so apt to fly right out of your sandwich.

  17. 18 inadvertentgardener August 17, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    Tiya, I like your style. Cheese as glue. Awesome. :-) Actually, last summer I was all about rocking the bacon-spinach-tomato-avocado-fresh mozzarella sandwiches. Haven’t done one of those yet, but there is still plenty of time…

  18. 19 Trey August 17, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    It looks great! You should be proud to have produced such a monster. Its about noon and I could sure use a nice B.L.T. I haven’t had anything that big come of our little garden yet. I think we need to move the garden to more sun. Good going, Genie!

  19. 20 anniebetty August 17, 2007 at 3:40 pm

    Count on me, Genie. Any time.

  20. 21 inadvertentgardener August 17, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    Trey, I’m sure you’ll get something soon — the nursery owner can’t go veggie-less all summer!

    AB, excellent. I always do! :-)

  21. 22 Kathy August 20, 2007 at 9:48 am

    Awesome!!! Absolutely awesome

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