The State Fair marks the end of summer and the growing season for tomatoes. I have harvested 2 beautiful Big Boy varieties. Green ones remain on the vine. Once the first frost arrives, it is too late to ejoy them and all their goodness will be ruined. If picked before the first frost, green tomatoes can be pan fried in a little olive oil. It is a way to enjoy some summer freshness and nutrition into the cool weather. Tomatoes originated in South America, most likely Peru. Tomatoes were brought to Europe probably by the Conquistadores and enjoyed in Europe long before they became popular in the United States. In Colonial times of North America it was considered bad luck to eat tomatoes and they were grown for decorative purposes only. Only after waves of European immigrants brought the tomato to the United States did they become popular for cooking and eating here.
The wisdom of place teaches that we can survive best on the plants that grow locally, but local is constantly changing. What was once considered foreign is now considered native. Dandelions, one of the most prolific plants in the world, are believed to have been brought here on the Mayflower. Their value as a medicinal plant dates to the time of the ancient Egyptians. The leaves can be stir-fried in olive oil or eaten raw in a salad. The roots can be made into a tincture for sinus problems. Harvest the plant straight from your garden to make a delicious wine to be served at next summer’s garden party.