A gardener’s lament, deal with it and eat it

Having whined my way back from vacay, time now to step up to the dinner plate and get my act back together. How can I possibly call myself a gardener and still sit here whining about the ripe Sun Gold tomatoes and the sweet, tasty little alpine strawberries? For shame. But don’t be surprised if I do it again. I am not fond of 95 degree days.

I know some folk’s gardens are doing just fine, they’ve had tomatoes since the 4th of July. They probably have tons of ripe ones, just clinging to the vine, waiting to be eaten, warm and juicey fresh from the garden, napped with a bit of balsamic and a fresh grind of pepper and a smidge of sea salt. They planted their tomatoes the first week of May, weathered the freaky late frosts, and are ahead of the game. Good for them.

For the rest of us, here’s a plan: get thee to Reggie’s Veggies, on Milwaukee by Capitol High, or to the fruit stand at the south end of Broadway, or the one on State Street near Collister. Get yourself to any fruit stand that has a sign out front saying “Local Bing Cherries $1.99 per pound.” Or this: Local Bodacious Sweet Corn!! I asked and the corn is from Star, just down the road a bit.

The stand on State has gorgeous big slicing tomatoes from our own Eagle, ID. I didn’t slice mine yet, because I have those bodacious SunGold cherry tomatoes, but I will have one for lunch tomorrow with a slice of mozz.

Walla Walla onions are local enough, and there is no substitute. Get them while you can because they don’t last long. What makes them special? The WW onion has a high water content (this makes them poor keepers) and low sulfur content making it exceptionally sweet. WW’s are certified as such and have to have the label to be authentic. Some are even rated for their level of sweetness but I have never seen that on a label.

The big Hermiston watermelons can be found all over town, at the fruit stands and in most supermarkets. Hermiston, Oregon, has been famous for the watermelons for decades. I don’t believe I have EVER had a bad one.

OMG! I almost forgot! Local apricots are in right now and sweet enough to make you swoon with just a single sniff of their ambrosia perfume. Other than canning, I need a good way to put some of these by. If you have a plan/recipe/idea, let me know. Years ago, I made peach and apricot leathers. I have progressed to rhubarbtinis, so something in the mixology department would be appreciated. I’ll whip up a few jars of apricot jam to “we can save some for coaxing sun out of the winter months..” Just love that quote, from Mary Pyper, my Seattle galpal.

OK, so we have lots of fresh fruit and vegetables at hand. Onward. WallaWallaWallaBing!