Do you suppose it's possible to fall in love with a tomato? This is the culmination of the gardening/farming season - the moment that growers and eaters of fresh food most anticipate. Yes, folks, it's officially tomato season, and you'll be hearing much about mine in the coming weeks. On Monday, I picked and ate my very first 'Black Krim' heirloom tomato, and I'm trying to find a way to describe the experience without sounding absolutely nuts.
I think this tomato just changed my life.
It's bulky and surprisingly heavy for it's size. It's beautiful in an ugly kind of way. It's perfect.
There is a very good reason why gardeners and growers so highly covet these prized fruits. Of all the edibles that you can grow in your backyard, the tomato by far offers the most exceptionally rewarding harvest. If you've never grown your own tomatoes, I have to insist that you try. Even just one.
For weeks on end, you watch carefully as the smallest plant begins to grow and change. You can't help but giggle with excitement when you glimpse the first, tiny yellow blooms that appear - a hint of the glorious fruits to come. Finally, little green globes begin to form, and you know you're in the home stretch. They swell, blush and ripen, twisting on their vines.
You've made tomatoes. You. All by yourself. Congratulations.
It's difficult to explain the first bite of a homegrown tomato. It's warm in your hands, full of sunshine and sweetness, a miraculous and compact package. Biting into it, the flavour rushes throughout your mouth, juices running down your chin and arm. It's impossible not to smile as you savour this reward for your efforts - this remarkably delicious fruit that was alive and breathing just a moment before. Everything you once thought you knew about a tomato was wrong. This is what makes life worth living.
My 'Black Krim' became the ultimate toasted tomato sandwich, but only after I ate half of it while standing on the warm deck with the summer sun on my hair. I'll never again be without this variety. She's the Queen of the Heirlooms. But that's just my opinion... what's yours?