A Homegrown Hankerin’ For Summer’s Goodness

By Maggie Beamguard

Insider Editor

The other day I had a hankerin’. That’s the word you use when you strongly desire something distinctly Southern. And the other day I had a hankerin’ for a tomato sandwich. It had been at least a year since my last.

I had a problem though. I was missing the essential ingredient: homegrown, preferably heirloom, tomatoes.

We make an effort to grow the succulent fruits every year in our own little garden plot with varying degrees of success. We amend our sandy soil, apply organic pest treatments and employ various contraptions and methods for deterring the herd of deer that saunters through our yard.

I reckon we’ve managed to produce about two dozen ripe, red Better Boys over the past six years. Yes, that averages out to four a year. And no, we aren’t winning any prizes at the county fair.

We planted this year’s garden with high hopes. But we should have saved the money we spent at the garden center. During our 12-day vacation, the deer enjoyed a nightly salad of tender plants and, with the assistance of the rabbits living under the hedge, razed our summer garden to the ground.

Which is the reason I found myself in a pickle last week when I was hankerin’ for that tomato sandwich.

There is only one way to make a tomato sandwich. This is a hill on which I’m willing to die.

Toast some white bread. I’m partial to Captain John Derst’s myself. Spread Duke’s mayonnaise on BOTH sides of the bread. Not too much, not too little. Layer quarter-inch thick slices of (and this is important) room-temperature, HOMEGROWN tomatoes on the bread. Salt and pepper to taste.

If you want to savor the taste of summer, then this is the recipe. A few other things come close: fresh snapped green beans, peaches so ripe the juice runs down your chin, grilled sweet white corn, freshly squeezed lemonade, popsicles by the pool. 

Well, last week, I was hankerin’ for some summer flavor. And only a tomato sandwich would do. With nothing to show from my bare little garden, I made a bee-line to Andrews Farm Produce. I left with a bag sagging from the weight of two Purple Cherokee heirloom tomatoes. 

I made my sandwich per my legal guidelines and sat on the back porch to relish each bite while the cicadas and tree frogs and birds sang their summer songs.

Different seasons bring different yearnings, don’t they? With the first hint of autumn’s approaching crispness I anticipate another hankerin’. Bring on the pumpkin spice. Whether you love it or loathe it, you won’t be able to escape it. And if you stop by my house, we’ll have a fresh loaf of pumpkin bread to share.

Until then, I’ll be seeing you at the produce stand getting my fill of summer. 

Contact Maggie Beamguard at maggie@thepilot.com