What’s been going on!
The summer solstice, longest day of the year, last day of spring, summer starts at 7:09 p.m., the heat started yesterday, had to happen sooner or later. Tomorrow Betsy can start her annual chant “Now that the days are getting shorter, frost is just around the corner!”. It has been a marvelous late spring with nights in the 50’s and low humidity but it will all soon be a dim memory as we head into the tunnel of summer heat and humidity.
Some good things come out of the right amount of summer heat. Tomatoes that taste better than just about anywhere else in the country for example. Without sun and warmth, the plants just don’t make enough sugars and other flavor components. This is why greenhouse tomatoes or ones grown in the northern tier of the country, no matter what variety or how well tended, can never really have great flavor.
There is a balance though. With too much heat and humidity, the plants stop setting fruit, there is more trouble with sun burned fruit (sunscald in the vernacular), hollow walls and blossom end rot when the plants just can’t move enough water up through the plant fast enough. This is why our farmer friends in the most southern tier states have tomatoes in June and maybe early July and then pack it in for the season until it cools back down.
Fortunately we are entering tomato season at just the right time, plenty of fruit hanging on the vines waiting for the heat to finish the process. We pick more each harvest day and soon the table will be overflowing with all of the colors, shapes and sizes. Here’s to summer!
Picture of the Week
Tomatoes in the cool of the early morning, waiting for the heat to flavor them up
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