Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Don't judge a book by its cover

It has been a long, hard road to the first tomato in this home.  Let me go back just a bit and explain.

Last winter I decided that I wanted to attempt to grow a vegetable garden again.  Since becoming horribly sick in 2006 with Lyme disease and co-infections I had to sell my organic dairy goats, cease any type of outdoor activity that put me at risk (at the direction of my doctor who told me I must stop getting re-infected), and wasn't even able to cook for myself or my children.  We are talking take-out and frozen foods.  Not only did it double our already insane food bill, this whole situation exposed my family and myself to horribly unhealthy foods, the source of nourishment for our bodies not being very life-giving.

Fast forward to 2011, several years of no treatment.  A year of long-term antibiotics.  I had recovered to about 50% maybe of my former, healthy self.  And you know what? I was thankful to have that much of my health back.  I considered myself high functioning.

Anyone who really knows me knows that I am a dreamer.  I tends towards idealism.  I wouldn't quite call myself a Pollyanna but I see the bright side of things.  When I see the dark side of things I fight to change them.  And then I focus on the bright side for awhile.  I create.  I capture beauty.  I attempt to make things better.  I don't give up.  I am a fighter.  I wanted some of my former life back.  I wanted to grow some of my own food again.

After much research I decided that I wanted to grow all heirloom vegetables and herbs in my garden.  I didn't want anything associated with Monsanto or its dangerous GE products.  I haven't used pesticides in over 30 years and knew that Round-up was just wrong.  I bend over and pull weeds.  Gasp.  Yes, they come out of the ground when you pull on them.  Sorry, I had to throw in a teensy bit of sarcasm because Round-up just seems so silly to me. 

Back to my garden.  I placed an order with a small seed company, Annie's Heirloom Seeds.  I excitedly received most of my order within 2 days and the rest was shipped with plenty of time to plant. 

I planted my seeds indoors in February.  We had already been experiencing spring-like weather so I dove right in.  I let my seeds live on the windowsill in the living room where we get lots of light and great full sun at least half of the day.  They did well except when the cats wanted to play with the tags.  I still don't know what varieties of tomatoes are planted where in my garden.  Cats make gardening so interesting.

One of my plants, Moskovich I discovered, ended up in a container in my driveway and the rest I planted in my backyard garden where they thrived.  My first tomato has been watched and documented for what feels like months.  Seriously, I think it took 3 months for this tomato to ripen.  Three days ago I went outside and checked my first and nearly ripe Moskovich tomato and it had split all along the top and down the sides.  Oh, I was heartbroken.

Moskovich tomato split after a rainstorm and cool night

I placed the focus of my tomato love on the counter in my kitchen out of direct sunlight and hoped and prayed.  It needed two or three more days to ripen.  I watched for mold.  I watched for bugs.  I picked my tomato up every day to gauge its ripeness. 

This morning I checked it and when I squeezed just a bit some juice came out on my hand.  I knew it had to be eaten today. 

Let me say that I am actually not a fresh tomato person because I grew up exposed to mealy grocery store tomatoes.  When I was older I discovered Roma tomatoes and stuck to those but I would never just cut a slice of tomato and eat it. 

My youngest is a tomato lover.  When he was very little he would go in my vegetable garden and eat tomatoes right off of the plants, like apples.  I had never done that and never thought I would enjoy a fresh tomato like that.

This morning changed that. 

I cut into my first tomato of the season, my first Moskovich ever.  I cut a small piece off of the bigger slice and popped that baby into my mouth. 

Oh my! I have never tasted a tomato like this. EVER!  This is what tomato lovers know tomatoes can taste like.  This is what tomatoes are supposed to taste like. 

It isn't pretty, but my first tomato of the season is a winner!  Blue Ribbon!!!


  1. I think "isn't pretty" goes with "real tomatoes!" Fake tomatoes are fake and so don't suffer from misshapenness, splits, variations in color. They're all perfect little red globes, and perfectly bland. The real tomatoes I've eaten were all unattractive to my eye, except as it indicates their realness and therefore their amazing flavor. Big Daddy, my grandfather, used to eat tomatoes like apples, one after dinner every night, in the back yard. It was his dessert. Now you've made me want a tomato and I don't have any! :)

    1. You are so right about "real tomatoes". I think we could say that about "real people," too. Love it!