Ritual Of The First Tomato - Revisited

Warning. The following post was written under the influence of the first big tomato of the season.

Here at May Dreams Gardens, we are pulling out all the special plates, books, knifes, forks, gloves and satin pillows to celebrate and embrace the first big tomato of the season with the Official Ritual of the First Tomato, first introduced on this blog in August 2006.

It’s a nice ‘Pink Oxheart’, fittingly shaped like a heart, signifying the love of tomatoes around here.

Rest assured, it was carefully picked at the height of ripeness while wearing the softest cotton gloves to avoid bruising, then reverently carried into the house where it was placed on the satin tomato pillow. All of its qualities and attributes, including the feelings of the gardener who picked it, were carefully recorded in the Book Of First Tomatoes as it was eagerly photographed, weighed and measured.

Then it was sliced up and eaten with the special tomato fork and knife, on the finest china reserved just for this event.

Queue up the rest of the ritual and don’t forget...

I made that up.

Really. I don’t do all that, or at least do all that quite that way. I did pick it myself and carry it inside without dropping it. As demonstrated by the picture above, I did take its picture while it was sitting on top of a satin pillow. Don’t ask how I came to own that pillow, but it is hand-made. And though I forgot to weigh the tomato and measure it, I am writing about it.

I guess that’s close to a ritual

By the way, it was very good, with a good “tomato” taste, if you know what I mean.

After I ate it, I felt like some of the other tomatoes I’ve picked recently deserve their time in the spotlight, too, if only briefly.

The ‘Red Currants’ are just as tiny as ever, but very tasty.
I thank the rabbits for leaving the garden alone this year. I don’t know why they are, but they are, so I've officially let my guard down and stopped worrying about them.

We go on and on about our tomatoes. Are they as good as an ice cream sundae?

I guess it depends on my mood, but yes, they are right now. And that is a ‘Black Cherry’ tomato on top.

If you don’t care much for sundaes, how about a banana, I mean, tomato split?

Those three bigger tomatoes are the first ‘Illini Star’ tomatoes. I picked them this evening and will enjoy one with my breakfast tomorrow morning.

Tomatoes. They are good for breakfast, lunch, and dinner this time of year. And they are good enough for the folks at the Indiana State Fair to declare this the Year of Tomatoes. They are even going to have a contest for the biggest tomato over five pounds. I don’t think I’ll have any that big by the weigh off on August 8th, but if they had a contest for “best presentation of a tomato as other food”, (TAOF), I think I’d have a good shot at it.

And with that, gardeners from coast to cost and around the world, I announce this year's tomato contest.

This year, we are not looking for the tiniest or ugliest tomato. We are looking for “best presentation of a tomato as other food” (TAOF). Feel free to enter by posting pictures of your presentation of TAOF on your blog, and enter as often as you’d like. Let me know if you post so that I can look over your entry. A winner will be chosen by “acclimation of the garden blogosphere” or something like that.

Good luck to all, and enjoy your tomatoes however you eat them!


  1. All I can write is wish I were there.~~Dee

  2. Loved this! We went thru "passion of the first tomato" tonight- really late this year- we've had a ton of rain in so. WV! And it's true- nothing beats those first sun-warmed garden-fresh tomatoes!
    Planted 8 kinds, but hubby picked a big bowlful (no satin Tomato Pillow for him!) and so I've no idea which is which! LOL

  3. Thank you, you crazy, crazy woman. I read that with such a big grin on my face. First you had me totally sucked in to the whole ritual and I was backing away slowly. Then your presentations, I know no one who is so obviously in love with this humble friut. Bless you. Looking forward to the pictures you get sent. I (sorry, maybe you ought to sit down) I don't grow tomatoes so I shall just be an onlooker. Fab post!

  4. These presentations will be difficult to impossible to top. I could go for a bowl of those little tomatoes right now.

  5. Love those tomatoes! We mixed cherry and yellow pear toms with mozzarella, olive oil and a splash of vinegar for a quick tomato salad. Like bruschetta without the bread! As the main course we had tomato and bacon sandwiches. You can't beat a fresh tomato from the garden!

  6. I love to pop the tiny tomatoes in salads because it is so effortless.

  7. I love your TAOF photos! You should do more indoor, still life photography. This sounds like a fun contest. Too bad I have no tomatoes.

  8. Can I borrow a friend's tomatoes for the photo? Mine are long gone. I'm going to get some fall tomatoes to plant soon, though.

  9. A nice way to rejoice over the first tomato... and love cindy's comment about borrowing friend's tomatoes for photos..

    ~ bangchik

  10. Carol, I love this contest! I might actually be able to compete in this one...that is, if my tomatoes ever ripen. But I think you've already won 1st place; I don't think anything could top a tomato split.

    By the way, I did get motivated to weed the vegetable garden yesterday morning as I said. Lo and behold, behind some of the weeds were some ripe green peppers!

  11. I've seen you pull out the tomato pillow four times, and it still makes me grin, Carol.
    But that tomato sundae is already the "best Presentation of a tomato as other food" - should we really try to top it?

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  12. It must been a hard work to watch and care for those tomatoes and you truly deserve that glorious moment in enjoying them.

    My mum took care of a tomato plant and it yield few friuts but tomatoes are quite difficult to take care in my place - easier bought than bred. But I guess its so much tastier when its home grown.

  13. So you knew I had grown the WUT this year I see. I have the picture. I have experience in arranging fruits into odd positions. You'll get a run for your sundae. So what shall my TAOF be?

  14. I can rejoice in the first tomato flower buds of my late-season year. And also rejoice in the thought of you eating that lovely red valentine.

  15. Our ritual involves the perfect BLT, complete with freshly toasted bread, warm bacon, lettuce from the garden, home made mayo, and last but not least: The Tomato! They were awfully late this year, weren't they? Must have been the cool wet spring and the cool wet July.

    I just put up my first 7 pints of puree. I'm not sure I have the creativity to present Tomato As Other Food, I'll give it some thought. What is our deadline?

  16. Thanks all for the nice comments and for having fun with me over tomatoes. For the contest, the deadline is as loose as the rules... in the next few weeks, post TAOF, and let me know, then sometime later in August, I'll do a wrap up post with links and see about some way for readers to vote.

    Good luck!
    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  17. Ahem. For some of us, August is the month before you plant tomato seeds. It's cruel and unusual punishment to show me feasts of home-grown tomatoes like that! I won't have them till December at the earliest!

  18. I'm so glad we have plenty of time to get our TAOF entries ready. I've been so busy I was afraid I would miss the deadline.

  19. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, squirrels, chickens, raccoons and tomato lovers everywhere,

    My Official TAOF Entry

  20. I love your tomato presentations. I am enjoying what the birds don't eat of my orange oxehearts that I'm growing for the first time.

    (I hope you get your sunflowers staked up. I have a couple that have fallen, I thought, because of squirrels climbing on them. One, I have had to support more than once, and it is still alive and blooming. I cut a few heads off of it the second time, so hopefully, it will stay up this time.)


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