It was one of those perfect mornings when the gentle warmth of the sun kisses your skin, and a periwinkle sea of clouds on its way to blanket that sun makes you cherish it. The kind of August morning that has a hint of fall, and the electric blue furry-reared insect (of whom I don’t know the name) arrives to let you know that Autumn is indeed around the corner.

A morning, with its hint of crisp air and now pitter-patter of rain, invites you to turn on your oven to put that overlooked zucchini to use. I baked a gluten-free zucchini bread in my new Kucht 6 burner range. Yes, that’s right, 6 burners. I’ve been waiting a long while for this dual-fuel propane cooktop, large electric oven. I cooked on a mediocre, not hot enough electric hot plate for months, prior to that electric ranges with tilting elements of which my pot or pan would slide off. Having cooked on those makes me appreciate this range even more. I needed some room to get ready for the Chelan farmers market tomorrow, but my counter was full of tomatoes and peaches. So, I decided to take my tomatoes that are just slightly blemished, and not fit for sale at the market, and transform them into a tomato sauce.

Delicious Spoon Tomatoes

Delicious Spoon Tomatoes

When I cook, I can’t help but think of my father, an Italian/American man, with a taste for the finer things in life, a self-proclaimed food snob. I sometimes wonder if he would’ve been happier had he lived in Italy, he loved good food, family time, and celebrating, espresso, wine, and grappa. Work consumed most of his time,

I remember his cousins telling him ‘Work to live Chris, don’t live to work’. I remember moments when I’d watch my father a fiery, extroverted, charming Leo, with a unique swagger become completely present and focused while intently and patiently chopping. It is engraved in my mind, how he’d transform. He would make large batches of red sauce, his mother’s recipe as best as he could remember, and put it in the freezer.

I can picture, if he were alive, him driving down our dusty farm driveway, not liking that his fancy car was getting so dirty. I can imagine him in his Italian suit cringing at my bathroom being an outhouse. Then, I can see him slicing into my tomatoes, dropping again into that still, focused presence where nothing else exists, tasting it and understanding why, understanding exactly why I am farming. Because what he would have tasted is the best tomato of his life.

My red sauce is simmering on the stovetop. I’ll let it simmer all day, and perhaps drape it over slow-cooked polenta. I’ll top it with Parmesan cheese and think of my father. I will feel joy as I watch my husband’s delight as the flavors hit his tongue.

This photo was taken by a cemetery where many of my ancestors are buried, it’s at the edge of the chestnut forest overlooking Sillicagnana, a town known for their stonework.

This photo was taken by a cemetery where many of my ancestors are buried, it’s at the edge of the chestnut forest overlooking Sillicagnana, a town known for its stonework.

My cousin said to me during my recent trip to Italy, “It’s not just the way the food is put together that makes it so good. It’s the soil, the air, and the water here.

I am lucky to be in a place that has those exceptional elements, special, and unique. Perhaps I should give thanks to Glacier Peak for the pumice deposits, give thanks to the glaciers for scraping, pushing, and forming this rich soil, and for the pristine water. Give thanks to the wild land surrounding us and the trees for the sweet air.

So, in the name of delicious food, and in memory of my father, don’t be stuck with a mediocre tomato from the supermarket. Come to Chelan’s Thursday farmers market and buy a tomato that will make you swoon.