There is nothing quite as exciting as the anticipation of your first tomato of the season.
I was away this weekend and came back to find the first tomato tucked in behind the protective leafy growth of my bush tomato. I’m always excited when my garden begins to produce. Perhaps more than any other vegetables or fruit, when the weather begins to warm I begin to crave tomatoes. The first tomato of the season, always makes me smile.
Some people may look at the endless availability of produce on the supermarket shelf as a blessing, a step forward in the evolution of our abilities to feed our ever growing population. Personally, I do not find comfort in being able to eat “fresh” tomatoes all year. I worry about food miles, both for their affect on our air quality but even more about what it means to local small enterprising growers. The more aware of local small farms I have become, the more important I feel they are and the stronger my ambition is to support them.
I can not stand on a soap box and claim that my concern for the environment was the first reason I began to eat seasonally. I am first and foremost governed by taste. I like my food to taste good.
A tomato, grown in unnatural conditions, shipped from a grow house thousands of miles from my home to my local shop simply doesn’t taste of much. I remember first noticing this as a child, and in the decades since, not much has changed. Sometime in my early twenties I made a conscience decision not to buy tomatoes out of season to avoid the sheer disappointment. I’ve not regretted it.
I confess, I am also “tight” with my hard earned cash. My account balance has also played a major role in my choice to eat seasonally. I don’t eat many processed foods and I choose my vegetables based on what is available as locally as possible. It’s inevitably cheaper.
Seasonal eating has it’s drawbacks of course, I’m well and truly bored of root veg by the time the first greens are ready locally. Equally I will, by late August be bored of tomatoes, but August seems a long way off and my mouth is watering in anticipation.