Central Virginia Organic Gardener

"And 'tis my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes." - William Wordsworth, 1798

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tomato Musings

It is getting near Christmas, and I am listening to holiday music. We have four, measly, poorly-ripened tomatoes left from the garden that likely won't taste very good.  The season of craving that homegrown, sun-ripened tomato has arrived.

You know how how people in a state or area with decent tomato-growing conditions say their tomatoes are the best?  In Virginia, many counties claim their 'maters have no equal, are the ultimate in tomato-ness, including Hanover, where I live.  And I grew up in New Jersey where the same claims are made.

Why is this?  I have a theory.  When you bite into that perfect homegrown tomato in July, to what are you comparing it?  Perhaps you are comparing it to those nasty, styrofoam-like, tasteless red orbs purported to be tomatoes that are sold in the grocery store year round.  Those things are often grown in Florida (terrible conditions for tomato growing), picked green and artificially ripened in a warehouse flooded with ethylene gas.   Gross!  They taste nothing like a good tomato...or even like a marginal homegrown one.  So, any homegrown tomato that is ripe, and has never been refrigerated, is infinitely superior, whether it comes from Jersey, Virginia, Delaware or North Carolina...or any zone good for the solanaceae. Oh, and sometimes when you buy tomatoes at a farm stand, they have been refrigerated or chilled.  Nothing ruins their flavor faster.
I just about never buy off-season tomatoes, choosing to add beets, carrots, olives to my salads and sandwiches instead. 
And "I'm dreamin' of a red tomato...just like the ones I used to know..." 
Happy Holidays!

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