A few mornings ago, Dashiell and I were walking back from Peets after a run and I stopped to ask one of our neighbors about her tomatoes. We live in a neighborhood that was for a long time a little Japanese community, where everyone has fruit trees and vegetable gardens in their backyards. One of the older, original residents grows tomatoes in her front planter and I’ve been watching them all summer. She DOESN’T sucker her tomatoes as she goes. And of course I’ve been thinking, well, how can hers be any good???
But then Tuesday she was out there raking up the stems and leaves she’d just removed, now that her plants are huge and bearing fruit. I had to ask. She’s clearly been doing this for decades and must know something the rest of us don’t.
So she says that she pulls off all the extra branches and leaves after the plants have fruited. AND she picks the tomatoes when they’re green and lets them ripen inside the house. She sent me along with a bag full to try.
They were delicious. I had one on a bagel in the morning and for dinner we had caprese (of course) and a raw zucchini salad with tomatoes and pinenuts.
I’m thinking of trying the indoor ripening. Seems like it would take the threat of mealiness out of the equation, since they’re not getting any water while they ripen? I love relying on old pros for advice. And they’re always so eager to share. Next year. Next year my tomatoes will be stupendous.