Can it be the Ultimate Fruit...

Some would say so. I love tomatoes, in all shapes, sizes, varieties and levels of sweetness. However, it is hard to say that it is better than say a peach, which at full ripeness, with full-on umami, is freakin awesome. Can there be anything better than that? Or say a single, perfectly ripe and sugar packed wild strawberry or northwest blackberry? Fresh picked crisp local apple, with an utmost burst of flavor...it is extremely difficult for me to quantify to which is best. I love them all! But, it tis the season for tomatoes in Seattle. I have eaten with much affection and delight many great tomatoes since I was a very young child. To pick a fresh large beefsteak tomato off of a vine and just bite into it like it was an apple, letting the juice run down your chin and onto your shirt, or grabbing a handful of beautiful yellow, orange and dark red "cherry sized" beauties from your neighbors garden and stuffing them into your mouth hoping he would not see you, is a memory I will cherish forever while on this planet. Today as a chef with close connection to some very great farmers, I am blessed with fresh-picked and carefully handled heirloom varieties each week. They are the summer-candy of the summer for the cooks. For sure! It goes without mentioning that each and every time one of us proceeds into the walk-in refrigerators, we naturally grab a handful of the little gems and pop them in our mouths, walking out with whatever we went in for(sometimes even not, getting lost in tomato lust!) and our mouths stuffed full like a chipmunk in the fall. Good times! It is really quite strange that although in the Northwest right at this moment, most would agree that the summer is coming to an end, with fall right at our doorstep, and yet, with the grace of god, it only seems that the abundance of tomatoes have quadrupled! As I pick up a latest copy of F&W or Art Culinaire, everything is about what's on our Fall menus...but hell, I am still all about living in the moment! This Ultimate Fruit is still coming on strong. Let me enjoy this moment. Let me cook with these sweet offerings of mother nature until they are no longer. The peaches, are still here, very tasty and ripe, the berries have gone, but are not forgotten, the apples on their way...but for now, the heirloom tomatoes, in all of their shape, form, color and flavor, have taken center stage of this culinary lollapolooza.


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