Sunday, April 29, 2007
I was watching a documentary on farm workers one night on PBS (I don't have cable); they were picking tomatoes. The tomatoes are picked when they are green and still rock hard. They can withstand a lot of rough handling and has enough time to get from fields to warehouses and then finally to the stores and restaurants and our dining table. It might be thousands of miles and definitely a few weeks before they reach our tables. Wow! No wonder they only look like tomatoes and they definitely don't taste like tomatoes. They taste like cardboard. I knew that they're picked way before they're ready but I didn't know how early. Now I know. So I guess there's no other way of eating a good tomato unless one grows it oneself or go to Italy. I brought back some tomato seeds from Sicily. They are known in the world as the sweetest tomatoes in the world. They are being sprouted in a flower pot in my backyard. I saw little green leaves appearing 2 days ago and I was elated. I've been having some issues the whole of last week but that didn't dampen the elation caused by the sprouting of those tomato seeds. Last year I was in Southern Italy and tasted some great tomatoes. In March this year I was in Sicily and was on a quest to find the sweetest tomatoes in the world. I went to the seed store; farm stores are everywhere; in fact, in Acireale, they were the only stores in town. It is a farming town. I went there to see the gorgeous baroque duomo. It had the most beautiful facade. We had to walk quite a distance to town from the train station. On the way back to the train station we stopped at a fruit stand and bought some mandarin oranges, apples and pears. The pear were so very delicious. I'll never forget that pear. Pears now will forever evoke memories of Sicily just like sweet tomatoes will. I'm going back to Sicily in October. I am writing a book on Sicily. I hope I can sneak back some seeds for squash and eggplants.