Saturday, August 31, 2013


They plant about 250 tomato plants each year.  Dianne and John.  Found each other later in life; deeply in love, adorable.  Inspiring.

The tomatoes are up the hill just behind their house.  They dry farm; they only water to get the plants started, then the plants are on their own.  They say they have a high water table - they're farmers and ranchers - they would know.

The tomatoes are as sweet as candy.  I'm planting my tomatoes next year where I can keep them dry - right now they're next to the lawn and insipid.

I picked a lot - to share with my neighbor who is teaching her kids the joy of preserving.  For my friend Gina who is working hard to hold body and soul - and family - together.  For a friend who works several jobs to make ends meet.  And some to make pomorolo with my friend Leslie.
They share with the Food Bank.  They share with their neighbors and friends.  And us.
Right after our ladies who were invited to pick last year left, John went into his workshop and made this sign:
And looking up from the house, it is.  Fanny Hill.  

The over-ripe tomatoes went to the cows (yes they were cows.  Not bulls, not steers.  I checked.  Ask me how I know).  They were in the field right next door to the tomatoes - the one that they lease to a cattleman who I am sure would think we are all batty - hand feeding cows?  really?  but it was great fun... 
After a few tomatoes were tossed over the fence to be sniffed and then snuffled up, they would eat out of your hand.  Gently.  Cow slobber sticks - took me three tries to get it off my hands,  And my iphone cover may never be the same. 
Notice how Alice and the cow have coordinated their outfits.  Wish I had known - I would have dressed differently.

His family has lived on this land and cared for it since about the Gold Rush.  She is the perfect hostess, and set a table with an abundance of flowers from her incredible garden...
Do you detect a theme here?
The soil must be incredible - I have never seen a sunflower so tall.  Or so happy. 
They grow figs and peaches, apricots and apples.  And flowers.  We were set loose in the flower garden and everyone left with a big bouquet - there were dahlias in all colors...
and amaranth as tall as I am and as bushy as a broom.
Eggplants small and large - Japanese long and Rosa Bianca, my favorite.  Peppers hot and sweet. Tomatoes cherry and beefsteak.  Yellow Brandywine and Sweet 100.  
The only one who wasn't impressed was Otis.  Yes that's a yawn.  It's what he does when he doesn't want to obey.  I'm gonna try it.
It took some doing, but we managed to fit almost all of it in the back of Sue's car...altho Cindy did have to hold a basket on her lap.
The joys of late summer, the gift of good friends.  The taste of a just picked tomato, so juicy it runs down your chin.  Maybe August isn't so bad after all.

1 comment:

  1. Made me laugh, Fanny Hill, reminds me of when Grant and everyone visited you --- good times!!