Our tomatoes didn’t do well this summer, probably due to a combination of too much rain and too little sun. Or maybe it was just an off year. At any rate, I needed a couple for a salad and we went to the local farmers’ market for them and any other produce that looked promising. The farm stand owner recommended the variety pictured above, one we had never heard of, seen or tasted. The tomato had all sorts of folds, and slices looked unusual to say the least. Nonetheless, the taste was excellent.
I reflected on the perfectly proportioned,perfectly smooth skinned, perfectly bland tomatoes on sale in our supermarket year around. As a culture we seem to prefer standardized tomatoes year round rather than quirky short lived ones available only in their natural season. So we have sacrificed taste for availability.
Quirky in general seems to be an undervalued trait at the moment in the United States. Kids who used to be seen as odd are now diagnosed and treated. Big nosed kids(I among them) now plead for plastic surgery so they can have “normal” noses. Small busted girls want implants while large busted ones seek reductions. Apparently there is a perfect size there too.
But looking at and then tasting this wonderful tomato I am reminded of what we lose any time we decide that vegetables, fruit and people need to all conform to a very narrow standard. Here’s to variety in all things.