I’ve already ripped out a dozen tomato vines but a few remain, browning foliage studded with red balls. I pulled the last two out yesterday. They gave more than I expected. One had little bunches of ovoid cherries, hot from the sun, orange red, perfect. A few dozen, many lower down the vine and out of sight until you pull it up. The other gave round speckled ones – I forget the name, some kind of heritage variety – that were fatter and orange with pale green mottling, like old-fashioned apples in miniature. I had the radio on, of course, to help me through the morning's work in the garden. Off the Record started with a track I hadn't heard for years, The Only Living Boy in New York, one of the two best tracks from Bridge Over Troubled Water. What a song, all swirling harmonies and organ and guitar in a wall of sound production, remastered. They are remastering everything these days.
So that was it for the summer crop. They are just tomatoes, but the taste is an explosion of hot, sweet acid with an earthy overtone that is indescribable. They are best straight off the vine, still warm, straight into whatever it is you are eating. This is the reason why we plant tomatoes without comparing yield to cost. The taste is worth it, because you can’t buy it in shops.
Spaghetti with rocket and tomatoes.
Cook up a large pot of spaghetti, or fettuccine. Meanwhile, sauté an onion and two scored cloves of garlic until almost translucent. Add a bunch of rocket, chopped, and cook to wilting stage. Throw in some halved cherry or heritage tomatoes and cook another minute or two. Drain pasta, spoon rocket and tomato sauce over; top with a few red pepper flakes and thinly sliced parmesan. Parsley if you have it. Glass of Mt Alexander pinot. It grows on rolling volcanic hills in between Harcourt and Bendigo, where they hold the annual cross country run, and you can taste the terroir. See the grapes on year as you run past, drink them the next. Makes it all worth it.
I went outside late in the afternoon, just before it rained, and picked up the mess of dead vines and brown string and broken stakes. The thin ones always snap off at soil level after one season. I put the vines into the compost bin and the broken stakes down the sideway and the sky opened up and it rained all afternoon and into evening.
Tom, get your plane right on time.
I know you've been eager to fly now.
Hey let your honesty shine, shine, shine now
Like it shines on me