Friday, June 22, 2007

Food Porn Friday!!!


You know what they say...

You can't buy love or homegrown tomatoes.

My area is famous for Grainger County Tomatoes. They are available all year round, since they are hothouse tomatoes, but the ones in the summer seem to be sweeter and richer. My own vines died in the drought so I'll be relying on these for my tomatoes this summer.

Every year they hold the Grainger County Tomato Festival. The highlight is a huge over-ripe tomato fight.

There's just something about a roadside fruit and vegetable stand. Particularly a real one and not one of the truck farmers. I have such strong memories of the ones where I grew up.

There was one on 278, back when 278, the major artery running into Hilton Head, was a two lane road. One of my best friends lived in Atlanta. Her folks were "summer people". I would eagerly await her arrival at the start of each summer, which we would spend riding my horses and sailing her Hobecat.

I was always fascinated by how very white the people from Atlanta were. She and her family would arrive at the beginning of the summer with a strange almost green pallor. It would take them almost two weeks to turn red and freckled like the rest of us. City folk, my mother explained, don't get outside too often.

I would ride my horse down to the beach to see if they had come in yet. Somehow, I managed to be there when they drove up, more often than not. They would always stop at the "fruit stand" and get a big paper bag of tomatoes.

They would eat them like apples.

I thought this strange since I lived with these tomatoes most of the time when they were in season and generally preferred them on two slices of squishy white bread with some mayo, salt and pepper.

City people. Go figure. Eat a bought mater out of hand like an apple. And not just a cherry tomato...a big one. Now, homegrown tomatoes were different. There's nothing odd about plucking a sun warmed tomato from the vine and eating it there, amidst the perfume of the vines and soil. You can almost see that smell rising like waves with the heat radiating off the dirt. The smell. It sticks to your hands.

But not a bought tomato. You don't eat a bought tomato with that same sense of sensual abandon.

This morning I drove to Knoxville. I stopped off at a vegetable stand in Newport and bought a bag of Granger County tomatoes. Just a small bag.

Driving down the interstate, I took one out of the brown paper sack. The smell drew me in.

I rolled down the windows of the jeep and ate that tomato out of hand just like an apple. I sucked the soft bits out of the skin and ate it whole.

I hope nobody saw me.

6 Comments:

  1. Manerva said...
    Oh, that sounds good. I have 18 plants I am waiting on. Too bad about your plants though, vegies are always best when picked yourself. It just makes them all the more better.
    marsha said...
    aaaahhhhhh!!! tomatos, I envy you. who cares who saw...be proud!!
    Pissed OFF Housewife said...
    That's how I eat my tomatoes.
    Mallow said...
    Yummy! Farm fresh tomatoes instead of those bought at the grocery store.. no wonder your "summer folk" friends ate maters like apples. Who could resist that lovely ripeness and perfume, hmmmm? :)
    johnieb said...
    I'm sure God will overlook this, given the drought and all.
    Galadriel said...
    Mmmmmmm. I need to come to the Tomato Festival.

    When I was a kid, and happened to visit my hillbilly Grampa in the right season, I would chow down on his tomatoes; I never got anything else like Grampa's tomatoes. His big, cool cellar was lined with built-in shelves, and he'd set tomatoes on the shelves when he harvested them. I'd start at one end of a shelf--these were the length of his whole house, now--and eat my way down until I couldn't eat any more. I could clear several shelves in a day.

    Looking back, I realize I probably made big dents in his tomato sales, and I regret that. But oh, the tomatoes were so good!

    This Tomato Festival sounds like my kinda thing.

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