Remembering my mother’s garden – Heirloom tomato salad


I couldn’t have been more than five year’s old when I would venture out into my mother’s backyard garden to admire the plump bright red blushing tomatoes drooping on the vines. Heavy with their juice, the tomatoes seemed to cling tightly to the vine with their soft prickly stems while the tomato plants leaned, twisted, and curled up against the invisible chain link fence for support.  Their plight to stay upright created a bright green boundary line in the yard.   The corn stalks held their heads high above the the rest of the garden,  like soldiers keeping watch, swaying back and forth in the summer breeze.  One step through the swinging gate and I was in another world.The  garden was alive … basking in the hot sun, and it’s breath  thickened the air with a humid sticky moisture that I could feel on my face.  I would stand in the middle of the towering plants, look up into the clear blue summer sky and take a deep breath.   If I close my eyes right now, I can still smell the earthiness of the tomato mixed in with the aroma of the summer sun as it warmed the rich soil in which the tomatoes were thriving in. Like a new bride who has lost her wedding ring, you can find me today, at the farmer’s market frantically smelling tomatoes in search of “that perfect tomato aroma” that takes me back to my mother’s garden.

Heirloom tomatoes remind me of my mom’s garden.  The fragrance … the sweet juice … and dense tomato flesh cannot be compared with the average  grocery store tomato.   Tomatoes this good really don’t need a recipe at all, they are better left alone as they are to be enjoyed underneath the summer sun with just a fork.  To keep the tomatoes as the star of this salad, I serve them  with a little fresh parsley, some briny capers, and a splash of olive oil and lemon juice.

Thank you Melissa’s produce for sending me my first taste of Summer!


Heirloom tomato summer salad
Recipe type: salad
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
  • 2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons capers, rinsed
  • 2 Tablespoons Italian flat leaf parsley
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Black pepper
  1. Slice tomatoes and arrange on a plate or platter. Sprinkle the tomatoes with capes and parsley. Drizzle the tomatoes with fresh lemon juice, olive oil, and salt & pepper.



6 comments… add one
  • Trevor sis boom June 5, 2013, 2:43 pm

    How can one separate that tomato garden smell from your memories of summer? You just can’t. Period. What wonderful photos!

    • Chef Louise Mellor June 5, 2013, 3:01 pm

      Thank you Trevor, I have a picture somewhere of me in the garden, I have to find it.

  • Natalie || DWP June 5, 2013, 3:11 pm

    Louise, I could not agree with you more! I’m so spoiled by my farmer’s market summer tomatoes, that I sometimes find myself outright refusing to eat tomatoes from any other place or time of year. This year, I planted my grandfather’s heirloom seeds, and the plants are thriving, though have yet to produce fruit! When they do, I’ll definitely be making this. TRUST! <3 \m/

  • Valentina June 5, 2013, 3:33 pm

    I have similar memories of my dad’s garden (which happily is still happening)! These are hands down some of the most gorgeous images I’ve ever seen. Not just of tomatoes, but of anything, ever, in my life.

  • sippitysup June 7, 2013, 4:27 pm

    This is such a beautiful piece of writing. And look, there’s a beautiful salad to enjoy as well. GREG

    • Chef Louise Mellor June 7, 2013, 9:47 pm

      Thank you Greg. Mom, brings out the best and worst in us eh?

Leave a Comment

Rate this recipe: