Until this past May, I'd never heard of a Nebraska Wedding. Weddings in Nebraska, yes. But an edible Nebraska Wedding??? Let's just say that I've got some work do to on the heirloom tomato learning curve.
It happened like this. At the end of one of the Board meetings of the Syracuse Real Food Co-op, Jennifer B started handing out tomato seedlngs to any one interested. I had already gotten a late start on mine and had a few transplants but I thought, one more couldn't hurt. She handed me one of the healthiest little tomato plants I'd seen--nice and green with healthy strong stems. She has a great gro-light thing going. Anyway, I added the Nebraska Wedding to the fold and waited.
When it came time to harden off the tomatoes I began placing them outsisde near where they would be planted--just next to the driveway. One morning in June I kissed my husband goodbye as he left for work and then watched him back out of the driveway--right on to the tomatoes. You could hear my screams from the the other side of town, I'm sure. I yelled "Stop!, Stop!" But he didn't hear me and it was too late. Practically the entire crop was mowed down. But on the advice of a fellow gardener I planted them anyway.
Well, they all did just fine. In fact, this is my best crop of tomatoes ever. And after months of waitng the Nebraska Weddings are finally ripe for the picking--and are they ever worth the wait! These are large orange globes of tender sweetness. I had one as a side dish for dinner the other night--I just sliced it still warm from the sun and sprinkled some grey salt over it. This is truly what summer is all about. Today, I sliced one up and made a grilled cheese sandwich made with some Grafton Village maple cheddar cheese on Pheasant Bread--delicious!
If you think heirloom tomatoes are the prize of summer or want the opportunity to taste a variety of them prepared by one of Syracuse's best chefs, you gotta check out the BC Restaurant Heirloom Tomato Dinner. There are seatings at 6:30 both tonight and tomorrow. Tonight might be full but word has it that there is still room for tomorrow's dinner. At $35 for a multi-course meal, I think its a steal.
This is tomato season so whether you can get to the dinner, grow you own, or get to the farmer's market--do whatever, but get 'em while you can!