Mary Beth Shaddix Mary Beth Shaddix
June 20, 2013

You know that moment where you plan...and wait, calculate on the calendar...and wait, then see encouraging signs of life...and wait? Nine months have passed since we last narrowed down the list of potential names. We’ve patiently watched as they grow plump and rosy. The day has finally arrived. No, we’re not talking about the Kardashian birth, or the royal offspring soon to complete the fairytale with great fanfare. It’s tomato time!

In our kitchen garden, the first to show color were Golden Nugget and Sungold cherries, Orange Banana paste tomato, Atkinson and Rutgers slicers, and German Red Strawberry. Many more are on the way, but this first harvest moment should get you salivating for your own summer fruits. Once you’ve had your fill of tomato sandwiches (which you must always do with the very first one after waiting those eternally slow nine months), try our Tomato Stack Salad with Corn and Avocado recipe.

The fruits that are ripe for picking now are five varieties of thornless blackberries and several dusty blue blueberries. I’ve shuttled the first pickings to the photo studio and can’t wait to fill more baskets. We would have had more to photograph, but we just had to re-test the Blackberry Margarita recipe that we feature in our Sunday Strategist. Duty called. In other exciting news, our Blue Jade corn has begun tasseling on those shiny, short stalks. An official sign of summer...if 92-degree heat hadn’t already given the hint.

The chickens are just as excited for tomato season as we are. See, they are attracted to anything red and anything edible. Not very discerning, I know. It’s particularly fun to kick off tomato season with a game of chicken soccer: toss a ripe one in the coop for instant chaos and a clucking frenzy. On the other side of the coop, the baby chicks we hatched two weeks ago are feathering out and are in that gawky, squawky stage. It’s hilarious to watch them try out the new wings, zipping around and fluttering mid-air. An action shot caught them enacting a little “kung fu fighting” yesterday.

Tell us your go-to tomato recipe for the first fresh pick of summer.

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