Rhonda Foshay’s gazpacho was one of the lovely little perks of participating in the Sunriver Art Faire every August. Her husband Paul is a talented woodworker and his booth of exquisite furniture and burl bowls always stood kitty-corner to my booth of landscape watercolors. Right around the noon hour, as long as an appropriate lull in the crowd persisted for a reasonable amount of time, Rhonda would reach into her cooler, bring out the gazpacho and give my husband and me the high sign: “Come on you two.”
Steve and I would comply, plastic cups and spoons in hand. Her gazpacho was loaded with their sun-ripened backyard tomatoes, plus a plethora of other seasonal specialties that one associates with a fine-tuned gazpacho, including crunchy cucumbers, sweet bell peppers, and celery — with a garlicky, olive oil back. It would be delicious by any standard, but against the backdrop of Central Oregon high desert heat, that gazpacho was refreshingly exquisite.
After several years of my pestering, Rhonda finally remembered to write out the recipe for me, which I’m more grateful for than ever now that we are no longer hanging together at outdoor art festivals.
Naturally, once my own backyard tomatoes begin to ripen, it’s one of the first recipes I reach for. Indeed, the time to enjoy local sun-ripened tomatoes is upon us. They are truly one of the season’s blazing triumphs — plump and colorful to the eye, aromatic and juicy to the other senses. To say this blessing from nature represents the best of summer is hardly an overstatement. Especially in Oregon, where they seem particularly intense and sweet in character.