a lifetime of tomatoes, passing it on

July 31, 2014

We had another big harvest today and put these aside for handing out to friends.

We had an impromptu tasting:  Big Rainbow on the left with Kellogg's Breakfast at the top.  The reds are Giant Belgium, Momotoro, Brandywine and the mahogany colored one is a Black Krim.  We never can decide on the best, and proclaim them all winnners!

The rest went into roasters for making tomato sauce.  I had some difficulty squeezing 5 pans into my oven, but I did manage, just.  I always have onions to pick and had one red bell pepper ready to harvest so that went in too.  I managed to find the last head of garlic hiding behind some green beans and also added two summer squash that needed picking.  There's always fresh basil, oregano and rosemary to add.  Then salt, pepper, a few shakes of dried hot pepper flakes and a good douse of olive oil to each pan and they are good to go.  I put in all colors of tomatoes together and my sauce always comes out red! 

Beautifully roasted.

Whirl in a processor.

Strain out the seeds and skins.


It's another harvest day at the Knitionary tomato farm.  Sigh.  Today was about 50 pounds.  We had a last minute tomato tasting, saved the prettiest for handing out and the rest went into the oven for roasting for roasted tomato sauce.  This is our summer routine we do twice weekly, with fresh picks in between for the daily fresh slicers.

Last weekend we made tomato sauce with our granddaughter.  She started out in the garden helping papa with the harvest.  She loved the whole process, and I think it's quite fun myself, turning beautiful home grown fruit/vegetable/whatever! into gorgeous tomato sauce.  While most of it went into the freezer, we did make some quick tomato soup by heating up some tomato sauce, adding a little chicken stock, hot milk (make sure it's hot when you add it so it won't separate), salt and pepper and cooked rice, (we prefer wild rice).  She had 3 servings and asked to take some frozen tomato sauce home with her so she could make tomato soup at home.  She also requested some homemade spaghetti sauce on her next visit and think we'll make it together.  As the tomatoes were roasting Annie kept saying, "The kitchen SMELLS SO GOOD!"  My heart swelled, I loved that we're making memories.  I told her my granddad was a commercial tomato farmer when I was a girl and tomatoes were a big part of my childhood memories; cold chilly mornings in his Ford truck and hot sun-burnt days in the fields with rows upon rows of tomatoes as far as I could see.  We'd visit each week and always take a few lugs home where my mom and her girlfriends would spend a day laughing in the kitchen making gallons of ketchup and tomato juice to share.  It doesn't take much to conjure up those pictures in my mind.

I've updated my homemade roasted tomato sauce recipe with step by step pictures.

I'll be back tomorrow with a winner for the giveaway.
If you haven't entered, there's still time!

Happy Summer!  


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  1. Thank you for the heart warming story! Beautiful post! Libby

  2. Lovely. My word those tomatoes are gorgeous. I love the colours and can imagine how the differing varieties really improve the taste of the sauce.

  3. Hi, I found your blog via Rowan. This is a lovely post, I can almost taste those tomatoes! Ours are ripening like crazy and are delicious eaten freshly picked :-D

  4. Beautiful tomatoes and, I'm sure, delicious sauce.


  5. And you still have time to knit :). Gorgeous tomatoes, lovely story :)

  6. Hi Kristen,

    May I ask what kind of fertilizer you guys use on your tomatoes? I've been following your blog for a little over a year and I'm always blown away at your tomatoes!! How many did you plant this year again?
    Here in Western Nebraska we've had 3 early tomatoes, but our big harvest is still weeks away. I've already decided to make your tomato sauce! It looks easy and delicious.
    And I just have to say - this post made me smile this morning. Your description of your childhood tomato memories put me right there with you. LOVE that you were able to share the fun with your granddaughter! Thank you for sharing!

    Tina J.

    1. Hi Tina!

      Thank you! Well first of all, CA is a different kind of place. We have such a long growing season that anything we plant is pretty productive. We have a pretty good routine of weeding and watering and just general tending keeping the tomato plants healthy though the growing season. We start off in very early spring by amending the beds with rotted chicken and/or steer manure that we purchase. We do a bit of composting kitchen scraps and add that too. We double dig it in. While we are organic in that we don't use insecticides, we do use fertilizer that comes in a box. My husband sprinkles it around a few times during the growing season, it's a 16-16-16 general purpose whatever is on sale type of fertilizer. I think the most important thing is amending the soil every spring. We planted I think 20 plants this year, down from last year! Our harvest starts early and is now just beginning to taper off, but we will be picking even through October when we finally pull out the scraggly pooped out plants. They have thick tough skins by that time anyway, and we like to give the soil and us a bit of rest! Thank you for reading Tina and I hope this helps a bit!

  7. What gorgeous photos! I am excited to try out your roast tomato sauce recipe, I bet it tastes amazing! What a wonderful bounty that you have in your garden. This post made my day!

  8. Amazing memories for both you and your granddaughter, and an amazing bounty!!! I have never seen the process before, so it's really interesting to me. A friend just offered us a lot of tomatoes, so I'm going to try this just to see if I can do it. I think the straining thing will be the least fun, but I'll get 'er done! Fresh is always better!!!

  9. Fabulous tomatoes! We are growing some similar specimens, although I don't make sauce, I have made some delish gazpacho. Enjoy!


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