Monday, September 22, 2008


Until this year, my next-door neighbor, Ray, gardened on the empty lot across the alley. It was an ambitious garden--tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, peppers, and corn. He always told us to help ourselves, but we never did. So every month, in the summer, I'd find a bag near my door filled with some of his produce.

Around this time each year, the mammoth sunflowers, he grew at the edge of the garden, towered above our fence line. The sunflowers served as a reminder that the season was coming to an end. And when those plate sized blooms bowed toward the ground, I knew Ray would soon drop by with something that made this southern girl smile--green tomatoes.

Even though he always made it clear I could pick from his harvest, I kind of suspected Ray didn't see the sense in green tomatoes. He never offered them to me until early fall. But whenever the weather man predicted our first frost, I could always forecast green tomatoes from Ray. And I'd be 100 percent right.

Early spring, Ray told Jerry that his bad knees were going to keep him from gardening. He'd decided to sell the lot. The news truly felt like the end of an era.

Then the other day, when I returned from my New Mexico trip, I discovered some vegetables in the refrigerator. Jerry told me that Ray had given them to us. He'd decided to keep a smaller garden in his backyard. There were peppers, zucchini and, of course, tomatoes. Most of the tomatoes were red and juicy. But as I pulled out the produce, my heart lifted. Tucked among the other vegetables were three perfect green tomatoes. I wonder if I should be preparing for an early frost?


3-4 Green tomatoes
1 egg
2/3 cup of flour mixed
1/3 cup of cornmeal
bacon grease or butter

Slice green tomatoes
Dip in beaten egg
Mix flour, meal, sugar, salt and pepper
Fry in bacon grease or butter
Bake in 350 degree oven for thirty minutes

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