Wednesday, April 9, 2014
i say tomato
Can I tell you a secret?
I don't like fancy tomatoes. I know, so very wrong for an organic farmer to admit. But I'll take an under-ripe, red, round, firm tomato over a fancy, overly tasty, pulpy tomato any day.
I think it started way back about seven years ago. We were growing tomatoes in a pretty serious way for restaurants and shops and markets and I was growing Miss Pepper in my belly. And while the tomatoes were blossoming and blooming and growing beautifully, I was sick, sick, sick.
And all through those early months of my pregnancy, my main job was to rummage around through the foliage in the poly tunnel and pick out the juicy, red tomatoes. Sounds like fun huh?
Imagine a hot sunny day, condensation dripping down the sides of the poly tunnel and off the roof and occasionally dripping onto your head or down your neck. Imagine the sticky tomato tar that covers your hands and arms up to your elbows as you reach through the plants to grab the fruit. Imagine thinking you've spotted the most perfect, plump, red tomato and when you wrap your fingers around it it disintegrates in your hand, a warm, overripe pulpy mess. Imagine breathing in that humid hot-house air and feeling like there wasn't enough oxygen for both you and the tomatoes. Imagine the overwhelming smell of the tomato plants and the tomatoes themselves, kinda acidic and sweet and strong. Imagine spending hours and hours, filling buckets and crates and feeling sick and pregnant and gagging and so over everything tomato. Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.
Seven years on, every single March and April day I've been spending an hour or two in the poly tunnels picking tomatoes, and that tomato smell and the feeling on my fingers takes me straight back there and I feel a little queasy. Seven years on, while I've still lost my love for the exotic and heirloom tomato, we most certainly, unquestionably have won with our wonderful Pepper Berry. I'll take her over a Cherokee Purple or a Purple Russian any day.