This year I grew San Marzano tomatoes for the first time, planting them the last week of August in anticipation of a fall crop. I intended to start the seeds and get them into the little Texas garden earlier, but a busy schedule and my natural talent for procrastination worked against me. Working in my favor was an unnaturally long string of warmer than usual temperatures. They thrived long after they should have, but of course all good things come to an end, eventually.
I pulled the vines out of the ground today, still laden with small green organic tomatoes that will ripen on the kitchen windowsill and blossoms that will never reach their intended destiny. Tonight we’ll get our first hard freeze in what seems like forever, and I didn’t want the tender green tomatoes to burst on the vine.
San Marzanos are paste tomatoes, and in less than a week these little beauties will turn a deep red just before they’re cooked down to paste and become the star ingredient in a delicious home-made spaghetti sauce.
It’s a little sad to use the last of the tomatoes, but the garden lives on. This winter we’ll enjoy fresh lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, kale, French breakfast radishes, carrots, and even a few snap peas. Most of these winter veggies will continue to produce until the first of the spring vegetables make their way from garden to table.