Would you eat the cherry tomato?

July 9, 2012 by Joshua
in Awareness, Blog, Nature

Here is a deep question about values, spontaneity, risk, adventure, the best things in life, and your appetite for them.

The context

It begins with my mom’s garden years ago when she lived in Nebraska.

Now I’m not that big on tomatoes, like some people are, and less so then than now. But when I tasted the cherry tomatoes from that garden they tasted like sunshine. I couldn’t believe how much flavor they had — sweet, tangy, juicy… everything you could hope for in a piece of fruit. And with all the vines there, you could pop cherry tomatoes in your mouth all day. There were more on the vie and overnight yet more would appear.

Plus she had  — I should mention it was my stepfather’s garden too — so plus they had a half-dozen varieties of basil. I would pick a basil leaf, wrap it around a cherry tomato (still on the vine — I didn’t want it to lose flavor in the seconds of moving it from the vine to my mouth), and put the combination in my mouth. I’d think to myself, “In New York City as an appetizer, that would cost $5. Here the ingredients litter the ground. And they’re growing as fast as I could eat them.” Then I’d eat ten more.

The disappointing surprise

After I returned home I found myself at a salad bar with cherry tomatoes. I thought “Awesome! I can’t wait to eat those things.”

Biting into it turned my gleeful anticipation to horror and disgust. It tasted like a cotton ball! It had no flavor. Yuck!

As we all know, something about our market and marketing system has bred flavorless tomatoes. After years of enjoying cherry tomatoes I didn’t know were nearly tasteless, the fresh garden cherry tomatoes from my mom and stepfather’s garden revealed the horror of what we’ve produced for ourselves.

It took six months before my taste buds forgot the awesomeness of the garden cherry tomatoes and I could enjoy — if you could call it enjoying anymore — any cherry tomato I could find in a store or restaurant. Not even the farmer’s market ones measured up.

I’d been spoiled for cherry tomatoes. I used to like the ones around here a lot. Now I don’t because I know something better.

The question

So here’s the question:

Imagine you like cherry tomatoes a lot. Now someone comes to you with a cherry tomato so much better than any cherry tomato you’ve ever eaten that none others compare. But you only get a limited number and after that you won’t enjoy the cherry tomatoes around you anymore. You’ll lose your enjoyment of cherry tomatoes.

Do you eat the cherry tomato?

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5 responses on “Would you eat the cherry tomato?

  1. Always – savor the moment! If the next tomato is not as good it just reinforces how wonderful the “best” (up to that point) tomato was. Perhaps there is the next “best” tomato in another shop or garden or place in time. The funny thing about memories is that our minds continually massage them and they get better, even the bad ones.

  2. Ofcourse, perhaps it will better then any other tomato you have ever tried. You still continued to try different cherry tomatoes now matter how many times you were disappointed. You had hope, I don’t blame you.

  3. I have so much fun raising cherry tomatoes, I always grow much more than I can eat ( which is a lot). I remember offering some to a young brother & sister, whose mother told me they never eat their veggies. After some hesitation, the two kids bit into the cherry tomatoes—You’r think I’d given them Hershey bars! They immediately wanted more & asked their surprised mom to buy some at the supermarket. One of the great things about gardening is sharing your produce with others, but this little incident takes the cake.

    • Late summer tomatoes and cherry tomatoes are unbelievable. I’m eating some for dinner and feel like the kids.

      I don’t mean to detract, but I wouldn’t compare fresh fruit and vegetables to a candy bar. Of course if you refine out just the sugar and fat something will be pleasurable, but I don’t feel like it improves my life to eat it.

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