AUTHOR: Julia TITLE: Before the Blight Strikes DATE: 8/05/2009 07:28:00 AM ----- BODY:

Home Depot should publicly apologize for killing the New England Tomato Crop.

This has not been a good summer for us. First, the June monsoons dampened our spirits, and now a blight found on tomato plants from "big box stores" is spreading, literally, with the wind and destroying tomato fields one by one. As any farmer or gardner will tell you, the zucchini and cucumbers are fine, but what we really care about are the tomatoes! You can read about the blight here and the plight of Waltham Fields Community Farm here.

Though I did not buy my tomato seedlings from Home Depot, I'm still noticing damage: yellow, wilted leaves with black spots. Two tomatoes, just days from perfection, had insect holes bored out from the center. I'm cutting back the leaves in hopes of preventing the spread.

I bought several tomato plants at Russo's, and have a few from my friend Brett. Those from Brett were bred for disease resistance, and so far are proving the most hardy!

This week, I did manage to harvest a few ripe tomatoes -- 4 black krim and 3 hybrid big boys. Though the plants are weighted heavy with fruit, who knows if they'll survive to harvest... so just in case, I made my favorite, quintessential, summer sandwich, best to savor the tomatoes: Toasted Bread, Mayonnaise, Tomatoes and Salt.

Summer Perfection.

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----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Tall Kate DATE:8/05/2009 09:55:00 AM Drumlin Farm, where I go for my CSA, lost its entire crop to the blight, too. And my handful of plants (seedlings purchased at Natick Community Organic Farm) have some signs of it . . . though we have harvested a few and may get a few more. So, so depressing. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger adele DATE:8/05/2009 12:38:00 PM Add my name to the petition for an apology from Home Depot. How am I going to get my heirloom tomato fix this year? ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types DATE:8/05/2009 01:22:00 PM Glad you've gotten something this season. It's going to be a very green summer on Long Island, and so far, the only heirloom tomatoes I've gotten to taste have been in Virginia. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger peter DATE:8/05/2009 01:34:00 PM Good luck getting that apology. My friend goes to a CSA in Lincoln and they lost their whole crop. So far ours have been spared, but one town over another friend just burned all his Romas. It's a big drag. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Katie DATE:8/05/2009 01:58:00 PM I'm glad that you understand the proper way to make a tomato sandwich!! That is my absolute favorite meal. Last summer I visited my grandparents in Atlanta and brought back a huge box of tomatoes. I had at least 2 tomato sandwiches a day until they were gone. It was absolutely wonderful.

Hopefully the rest will survive - I'll keep my fingers crossed! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) DATE:8/05/2009 07:15:00 PM I'm green, or red, with envy. The deer ate my tomatoes -- every single one -- before the blight could even get to them. Can I blame Home Depot for that, too? ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous noble pig DATE:8/05/2009 07:44:00 PM Wow, that's a serious tomato sandwich! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Callie Durbrow DATE:8/06/2009 10:56:00 AM That's too bad about the Home Depot crop, but I agree that the sandwich looks great! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Sylvie, Rappahannock Cook & Kitchen Gardener DATE:8/06/2009 09:38:00 PM I did not realize the late blight was that bad! who. Although here too in Virginia we've had our far, disasters ue to weather: loss of fruit crop, fungus on wheat etc...

Pretty good looking sandwich though... ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Lori Lynn DATE:8/08/2009 11:08:00 PM Best wishes for your tomato crop.

I am a big fan of this sandwich too.
LL ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Julia DATE:8/09/2009 03:09:00 PM Tall Kate -- I think you're ahead of the game! Lucky You!

adele -- you could probably get tomatoes from Jersey, but that kinda defeats the point... maybe.

T.W. -- it's touch and go in the garden this year.

Peter -- I know it's wishful thinking.

Katie -- the culinary education paid off, eh? :)

Lydia -- I think you should.

noble pig -- I've had a few more since so I'm happy so far.

Callie -- Have you been able to get any tomatoes yet?

Sylvie -- The fact that the New York Times has written about it so much, to me, says it's really bad.. beyond my backyard.

Thanks, LL, I'll need it! ----- --------