Oh, summer

Fall lingers in passing conversations, bringing strangers together to acknowledge summer’s end. Few words are necessary. Mutter, “Oh, summer,” with a nod of the head and the bittersweet loss of the season’s passing will form bonds of friendship while waiting in grocery store lines, at the gas pump, or passing shop windows. Summer, the slow sip of fresh lemons, and lingering bite of strawberry rhubarb pie departs too soon.

Summer also means sinks filled with a variety of heirloom tomatoes differing in size, shape, and color. Heirloom seeds are shared and passed down in a family for generations. Some claim the seeds need to survive 50 years, others 100 in order to meet necessary age requirements. Regardless of which argument you agree with, the seeds hold stories waiting to be told. I imagine seeds that have survived 300 years in tiny cloth sacks tucked into pockets, hands, and then dirt.


In a few weeks, the abundance of tomatoes, greens, herbs, and berries will soon make way for heartier versions of butternut and acorn squashes, pumpkins, carrots, parsnips, pears, and apples. This weekend, we will pick peaches and apples, and will turn them into sauce, tarts, and galettes.

Last week, we even packed our veggies to bring with us on vacation. We ate several dinners of sauteed squash, pesto salad wraps, and heirloom tomato pasta sauce. Here is a rough guide to the sauce I made.
Summer’s End Tomato Sauce
(printable recipe)

Yield 2 to 4 servings

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium minced onion
1/2 cup minced carrots
1/2 cup peeled and minced celery
1/2 cup red wine
sea salt
fresh-ground pepper
1 teaspoon raw cane sugar
2 cups chopped ripe fresh tomatoes (mix of large and small heirloom variety roughly chopped)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the butter in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the wine, a pinch of salt and pepper, sugar and let it bubble for 1 minute before adding the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes then turn heat down to simmer. Cook uncovered until desired the sauce has reached the desired consistency. Toward end of cooking, add fresh chopped basil and Parmesan cheese.

When the sauce is finished, pass it through a food mill or cool the sauce slightly before blending it in a food processor or blender. Taste, adjust the seasoning and serve with pasta, a drizzle of olive oil and more Parmesan cheese.


  1. nikki says

    purpleflowers, thank you for reading and for your thoughts.

    n bowler, their flavor, texture, and color are worth obsessing over and longing for summer’s return.

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