You Say To-may-TOE, I Say Tom-AH-to: An Ode to Summer’s Bounty Plus a FREE Classic Tomato Pincushion Pattern

Kim Butterworth takes a stroll through her local farmer's market

Yum, it’s tomato season! Ever since my friend Tricia O’Brien published a tomato jam recipe on her blog Café Trix, I’ve been dreaming about pairing a perfect BBQ’d burger with caramelized onions, her super-juicy, savory-sweet jam, and a local cheese like Cowgirl Creamery ‘s Mt. Tam.  My hips probably wouldn’t appreciate the calories, but I’d enjoy every bite! Tricia is a cooking woman with mad skills and a growing reputation as a food writer—her blog is worth the visit for delicious seasonal cooking inspiration.

So what is it about those beautiful piles of ripening fruit makes us go just a little crazy? Apparently, Christie’s husband eats no less than 10 pounds of the juicy fruit weekly during tomato season. Isn’t that amazing? Then, there’s my friend Kim Butterworth (featured in my recent Quilter Profile) who travels many miles of our NorCal rural roads with her partner Rob to find perfect San Marzano tomatoes for their homemade marinara sauce. It’s very yummy and worth the hunt, I can attest! (Thanks to Kim for the lovely photos at her local farmer’s market, BTW.)

Then Kim had a close encounter with heirloom tomatoes

Lest you think foodies have hijacked SHWS, I’ve figured out a way to travel back to our bailiwick—after all, we are a sewing blog. Click here for a FREE heirloom tomato pincushion downloadable pattern! Again, my caveat:  I drafted the pattern in broad strokes. Use the steps simply  as guidelines to design your own tomato variety.

How mouth-watering are these neon yellow-red tomatoes?

In pursuit of a perfect tomato pincushion I started with a Google search and then conferred with a local pincushion maven, Kathy August, who sells her wares at Wooden Gate Quilts in Danville, CA. We agreed that seamed tomatoes made for prettier pincushions, but after plying many websites and blogs, Martha Stewart’s instructions for a gathered version seems like a reasonable approach as well.

Ah, a delicious heirloom tomato pincushion!

Once I made my prototype tomato pincushion, I realized that indeed the seamed variation was much more to my taste. However, I suggest using the gathered approach to make a much-cuter cherry tomato to replace the emery-sand-filled strawberry that’s been such fixture with mass-produced tomato pincushions. That leads to the question: Why a strawberry over a cherry tomato?

A confession to close: I’m sorry to say I did grievous harm to a beautiful Black Crimson heirloom tomato while developing the pincushion pattern and it was delicious!

Incomparable summertime fare: fresh tomatoes and mozzarella seasoned with a chiffonade of basil, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil

5 thoughts on “You Say To-may-TOE, I Say Tom-AH-to: An Ode to Summer’s Bounty Plus a FREE Classic Tomato Pincushion Pattern

  1. Easy to eat 10 lbs. tomatoes a week when you have them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Our tomatoes and basil are doing really, really well this year. At this point all I want is the kitchen counter back that is covered with tomatoes.

    Judy, SC


    1. Greetings Judy, that’s some serious tomato eating going on down South! I’m not so big on tomatoes for breakfast, but I could easily indulge in BLTs on toasted whole wheat everyday for lunch. Hmm, making myself hungry . . . happy sewing & tomato-eating!



  2. not sure i eat as many tomatoes as christie’s husband–but i’m close. love tomatoes and your salad looks great. just happen to have everything needed for the salad–my lunch for today! my tomatoes and basil are doing well this summer. i’m just surprised there wasn’t a blossom on your tomato pincushion from the flower lady!


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