Why is it that late winter always brings on an obsession for a good tomato? Is it because the ones available in the produce section look pale and artificial ... too perfect in shape and color? Afterall, decent cherry tomatoes can be had as a winter substitute. They can even be enhanced with a slow and low roast in the oven to intensify their flavor. But no, its not just the flavor of the tomato ... its the experience of the tomato, yes, the experience of the tomato! The sunshine, the long warm days, the scent of the tomato plant on your hand from the just picked tomato. Its a visit to Larryville Gardens that I'm craving ... carrots, tomatoes, garlic, and oh the locally grown artichokes.
A few years back I discovered Larryville at the Burlington, Wisconsin farmers market; she had the prettiest stand with the most amazing looking produce all staged to enhance their beauty and draw you in (it was right out of one of the pages of a romantic farm stand that I have in my head). Ever since, I make the trip to visit her and her farm as often as I can ... to enjoy her perspective on growing produce, to debate politics and life, to pick some tomatoes and what ever else is in season at that moment, and then drive home to cook up a storm.
Enjoy, taste and dream!