Whenever summer comes back around, I can’t help but to recall some of my most cherished memories from my youth. In those days, when I was a teenager and as soon as school was out for the summer, my dad would drop me off at my grandpa’s farm early each morning so I could help him harvest honey from his many beehives. It was hot and heavy work, but Grandpa didn’t seem to notice. In fact, the hotter and harder the work, the happier he seemed to be. As a teen, I wasn’t quite as thrilled, especially since I knew what my friends were doing. It certainly wasn’t this. But my dad just said that it would build character and, besides, Grandpa needed me. So I went with thoughts of how long it would take for my character to be built and if I could sleep in when it was.
However, as grueling as the work was, there was one happy thought that kept me going and that was lunch time. When we would FINALLY stop for lunch, and Grandpa would let me go in to see Grandma, she would almost always make us tomato sandwiches with the tomatoes from Grandpa’s garden and Grandma’s homemade bread.
I don’t know how she made them so delicious, but I have never had another that tasted so good! I guess the only ingredient I can’t reproduce is the love she put into making them for me. Oh, she would complain about how hard it was to feed a growing boy and how I was eating her out of house and home, but I know she didn’t really mean it because she would just come over and put another sandwich on my plate without even asking for it. In fact, the only way I could stop the sandwiches from coming was to get up from the table as I took the last bite and put the plate in the sink. Even then she would ask if I was sure I’d had enough.
Although those wonderful people have long since passed, along with the farm, which is now, sadly, a highway, every summer I still look forward to that first vine-ripe tomato in my own garden. I’m sure it’s probably wrong and I’ll certainly share the rest, but I selfishly eat that first one alone in my garden as I reminisce about those two very special people in my life on my own personal day of summer.
If you are like me and love summer vegetables (especially tomatoes!) it’s about time for them to start showing up at the farmers markets. Tomatoes, peppers, summer squash, eggplant, okra, and all the other favorites are on the way! We also have demonstrations and cooking classes planned that you won’t want to miss!
Laney Walker Farmers Market - 1st Friday of every month, 4:30-7:00pm at 850 Laney Walker Blvd., Augusta, GA
Veggie Park Farmers Market - Every Thursday until November, 3:30-7:00pm at 631 Chafee Ave., Augusta, GA
A Farmers Market for Alex - The last Friday of every month, 11:00am-2:00pm at 451 E. Hill St., Thomson, GA