The quest for ‘killer tomatoes’
The kids were sleeping soundly in the back seat as we neared the end of the drive back from our vacation at the Jersey shore, when Terry nudges me and tells me to pull in to the approaching roadside farm stand. Though wanting to complete the drive and get a weeks worth of stuff unpacked I comply, (my wife is Italian and trust me, after 28 years of marriage, I have found it is better to just accept the inevitable rather than try and talk her out of it). It ends up a surprisingly quick stop and we are back on the road in ten minutes with bags of fresh from the field produce. It was not till the next day that I would find how fortuitous that stop was when I cut into my first Jersey tomato.
This will definitely be a different posting than you have ever seen on my blog, for a number of reasons. First of course as I mentioned in my last post I am tired of writing about my observations of a corrupt political scene that is full of incompetence but more importantly I have for decades, since I moved from Philly to Alaska, been searching for the ‘killer’ tomatoes that I loved to eat each summer in my old hometown. So please bear with me as I try and explain this not quite normal rambling.
For many years while I lived in Philadelphia I had a nice garden in my back yard, with its main crop being tomatoes. However since one only has so many square feet of grass when you live in a row home I could not ‘rotate’ my crop and soon the quality and quantity diminished. It happened that one summer as I and my family drove back from a vacation on the Jersey shore my wife had me stop by a ‘farm stand’, where we purchased some tomatoes and as they say the rest is history.
The next day I decided to make a tomato sandwich and instantly as I sliced into that tomato the aroma from it waifed up and my mouth began to water. Now we all have experienced this to one degree or another as a steak or roast was cooking and the delicious fragrance would have our pallet dripping with anticipation, well this was no different. From that first chance encounter with a New Jersey ‘farm stand’ tomato I was hooked on how ultimately delicious they can truly be.
Fast forward to my time in Alaska and no equal for that tomato could be found. So for the last twenty years I have been low to savor that ultimate delight. It may not have been an obsession but when the Jersey tomatoes were in season I happily would eat them morning, noon and night at every meal, and though I searched every store and Alaskan farm nothing would equal them.
Now in Texas with its longer growing season it was one of the first things I sought out when I arrived and…. I find it hard to believe but nothing available here even comes close to that Jersey tomato taste. What is even worse no matter which store I go into every tomato I find has a label marked Mexico or greenhouse on it. For Gods sake this is Texas with a hot sun blazing for more than half a year so where are the locally farmed tomato’s? I have now gone so far as to plant my own, in front of my apartment, but know even if they bear fruit and are good, there will never be enough to fill my need.
So I sit and ponder
a truly unimportant question
is there no place left that has those
killer tomatoes ?