Everybody who knows me knows I love tomatoes.  I was raised on them.  More than that, I was raised hunting for the perfect tomato. It was as much sport as it was mission in my family, as competitive as SEC football.  And my dad was the coach, the master of the hunt.

We grew them, of course.  But we would also drive miles to some small make-shift stand by the side of some unmarked country road because my father had heard talk of the size, color and quality of some farmer’s tomatoes.

I never knew a time when my father didn’t have several red Beefsteaks lined up in his kitchen windowsill waiting for that very moment when one of them would be ready to slice.  He ate them with every meal, every day.

So no wonder Catherine Grace Cline, the young and witty heroine of my first book, believed that “the tomato was the symbol of a person’s God-fearing commitment to biblical and civic values.”  Her devotion to the tomato was in her blood, as it is in mine.

And even now, as a very grown woman, when the weather turns hot and the tomatoes start to ripen on the vine, I think of my daddy and the search for tomato perfection!

Some of my favorite heirlooms -- Valencia, Cherokee Purple and Pineapple.

Some of my favorite heirlooms -- Valencia, Cherokee Purple and Pineapple.

Let me know where you find the perfect tomato!!!

Posted July 30, 2009 at 11:38 am · 4 comments · Leave a Comment


  1. Jill Porvaznik, July 30th, 2009, 12:28 pm

    Oh, we grew our first tomato plant ever and they were enjoyed by each of us. They were called patio tomatoes and we grew them in a pot....I have had better, like those yummy beefsteaks, but to my girls, the ones we grew were delicious. I just finished LFSADQ, and loved it. I just had to write a post on my blog to share the book.Thanks for writing it. I borrowed my friends copy which you signed while you were in City Lights in Sylva NC. They loved meeting you.
  2. Jill Porvaznik, July 30th, 2009, 12:29 pm

    sorry my comment did not post, but I loved the book and had to share about it on my blog. THanks.
  3. Leisa Hammett, July 31st, 2009, 10:28 pm

    Hosted a party here Thurs night and the hit dish was tomatoes topped with basil, mozzerela and drizzled with olive oil. Today I bought a lush bunch of basil and some buffalo mozzerella and The Fiance is going to search for the perfect tomatoe tomorrow so we can take this platter to a party. And, my father, too, loved tomatoes, grew them and ate a mater sandwich every day. And I think I tweeted my take on this:
  4. Ann Weisgarber, August 2nd, 2009, 10:09 am

    Dear Susan, This has nothing to do with tomatoes (other than I love them but they don't grow all the well here in Texas), but I wanted to let you know my husband's aunt, Joyce Watson, met you in Manchester. She sent a note telling me how pleased she was that you came to The Books & Brunch Club on July 25. You were a big hit, she told me, and everyone enjoyed getting to meet you. Congratulations on the publicaition of your novel! Yippee! Best wishes for continued success.

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Susan Gregg Gilmore