As thanksgiving approaches and the promise of colder days loom, our Midwest garden has finally been put to bed for the winter. Fortunately for us, our tomatoes were overachievers this year and we are still feasting on their fruits. Every time I found a nice-sized red tomato this fall, I thought, “This is the last one,” but I was proven wrong time and again. Even after a recent cold snap and early snow that sent me out harvesting really green goodies, our plants didn’t give up. I actually picked a few smaller tomatoes last weekend that are turning red in our kitchen window. The skins are a bit tough and they aren’t quite as flavorful as the ones allowed to ripen on the vine, but I made a mean pico de gallo this week and even BLTs, which were very tasty ways to use these late bloomers.
Still, as I unwrapped ties and pulled stakes out of the ground, it made me sad to find several tomatoes that would never see their prime. I know the ground needs to rest and recoup for next year’s harvest, but it’s hard to say so long for the coming winter months. As my supply of homegrown tomatoes rapidly dwindles, I guess I will just dream and plan for next year’s garden with every tasty bite.