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Once upon a time I hated tomatoes. Hard to believe from a Jersey girl where amazing tomatoes are grown. But it wasn’t Jersey tomatoes that converted me; it was the huge, juicy, fire-engine red, beefsteak-style tomatoes that came with every meal on a Jamaica vacation that did the trick. Today, j’adore tomatoes. Today, I regret that the end of summer tomato growing season is neigh. Today, I will eat and eat and eat tomatoes while they are still available and luscious.

On a recent trip to NJ, there were lettuce and tomato sandwiches on hard rolls (Ohio friends, this means a kaiser roll that’s crusty on the outside and soft on the inside, preferably [for me] topped with poppy seeds). Today, caprese salad with locally grown purple, red and yellow tomatoes plus plum tomatoes from my neighbor Bill’s garden, still warm from the vine; fresh mozzarella from Dorothy Lane Market (where they make it fresh); basil from my garden; a wonderfully thick Greek imported balsamic vinegar from The Learning Kitchen (where you buy a bottle and take it back for refills), good olive oil (this one purchased in Radda in Chianti, an adorable village in the Chianti region of Tuscany), accompanied by a cibatta roll (from DLM and toasted in a 375 oven).

Summer tomatoes, I love you. So long until 2012.