Of all the fresh produce that drip from the market stands this time of year, I think tomatoes are the ones I love best...
I adore the smell of the tomato vine when you walk through the stalls at the farmers' market. Like a summer rain storm, I can smell the tomatoes long before I see them.
When I was a kid, my brother and I loved to scour our mother's garden, looking for green-horned tomato worms. We'd hunt through the tomato plants first thing in the morning while it was still cool and the plump caterpillars were inching their way through the green tomatoes. Thinking we were saving them from certain doom, we'd collect them in old glass pickle jars, adding sand and sticks and fuzzy tomato leaves for them to munch on. You see, after the breakfast dishes were washed, my mother would put on her sun hat and go out to the garden, and if she found a green-horned tomato worm feasting on her plants, she'd certainly smash it. Heroically, we'd pull the worms from the vines, and place them safely in their new homes. In protest the worms would spit-up on us, a sticky green mess that smelled of tomato vine. By lunchtime we'd smell like tomatoes from head to toe.
Okay, not a very appetizing memory, I have to admit. But the point is that just the smell of tomatoes on the vine brings me right back to these moments as a child in the garden.
Tomatoes are everywhere these days, and I can't help but buy them every chance I get. The kids eat them like apples, juice running down their chins, and I've been known to add them to just about anything. Someone once said: Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is adding it to your fruit salad. Well, I haven't yet added them to a fruit salad (it's coming), but I did make a pie with them last weekend. This Caprese pie is everything we love about Caprese salad, baked into a tender crust. Finished with a sweet drizzle of balsamic sauce, I can almost imagine I'm back in that garden. The tomatoes are ripe, and there's not a sticky, green worm to be found.