Did you know you can grow San Marzano tomatoes at home?
I didn't know. Until this year.
In April, I became aware of a seedling sale conducted by Marin County Master Gardeners.
They had all kinds, including some with adorably cute names like Mortgage Lifter (it failed utterly; harbinger of the subprime meltdown?) and Boxcar Willie (it's doing OK, it's safe but is not interesting). The Chocolate Cherry was totally cool — plump, brown tomatoes the size of an egg yolk; juicy and sweet. The Sungolds were their usual: reliable, early, prolific, sweet, dull.
But we were astounded that we could plant San Marzanos, the vaunted Italian plum tomato of legend.
Is it true to Italian San Marzanos? I don't know. I have never plopped down three dollars for a can of them (and besides, I'm off canned tomatoes entirely).
But we have roasted several of them and made sauce. It's dreamy, creamy. Superb. Tart. Sweet. Smooth. It's in the freezer for now. There are still several tomatoes on the vine that we HOPE will ripen before the days get too short.
Look at that seductive little character.