...with a husband and 5 sons, I am truly outnumbered....stories and thoughts on life from a mom in a houseful of little men!

Thursday, October 09, 2014

I Never Knew a Tomato: day 9

The South has some wonderful, year-round produce markets.  I have visited a couple.  They're the type depicted in folk art, with shelves full of melons and baskets of peaches and sweet corn in summer.  These are replaced with brilliant, orange pumpkins, bushels of apples, and potted mums in the fall.  I've yet to discover what the markets display in winter, but what I want to focus on in this post is one particular thing.


Growing up in the Midwest, tomatoes were in abundance.  I remember family and neighbors bringing over 5-gallon buckets of tomatoes, over-flow from their gardens.  And I remember, sadly, many times the tomatoes going to waste because we just couldn't get through them all.  Personally, I never cared for them.  I actually picked them off sandwiches and out of salads.  "Anyone want my tomato?"

A few years in Alaska cured me of that.  Within two or three years of living in The Last Frontier, I craved tomatoes something fierce.  I remember placing an order at Subway, and feeling like I was getting away with something because I ordered extra slices of tomatoes on my sandwich.  Most the time they were pale, very pale, but they were tomatoes.  In Alaska, good, organically grown tomatoes were not easy to come by, particularly in winter.

In summer, at produce markets, you could find yourself some huge, juicy, flavorful tomatoes, but they came at a price--$6.00-$7.00 PER TOMATO, for the nice, tasty, hothouse jumbos! It was a price I was willing to pay at times. 

With this as my recent history, imagine my delight upon walking into a fresh produce market and seeing nearly the entire perimeter lined with large baskets of tomatoes of every color, size, and shape.  They all looked wonderful, but these were the ones that really caught my eye

Organic Heirloom-Variety Tomatoes.  I placed a couple particularly beautiful ones in my basket.  There were so many colorful ones to choose from  I really wanted one of each, but the tomato-price-conscious part of my brain wouldn't allow that.  I was astounded at check-out, however, that those beauties were only a couple dollars--TOTAL.

I was so excited to share my discovery with my family that night.  "Look what I brought from the produce market, and they were only a couple dollars!"  I announced as I cut into the first lovely fruit.  Did you know tomatoes are a fruit?  It's always been weird for me to think of them as such, but not any longer.  I bit into that tomato and it stopped me in my tracks.  I had never, and I mean never, tasted anything like that in my life.  I suddenly wished I hadn't made such a big announcement to my family, because I was wanting to eat the rest of that baby up whole, and his little friend, too.

See those babies that look like apples?  Southern 'maters, people.

Each family member in turn, ate a wedge.  For each family member, it was like eating a tomato for the first time.  Even those who are not into tomatoes, ate theirs right up and asked for more.  "I didn't know this is what tomatoes taste like, Mommy!"

I didn't know either, Sweetie.

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