If you have access to a rooftop or even the tiniest little fire escape, tomatoes are a fast growing plant, and growing them can become a fast means of the gratification we gardeners like to achieve.
My parents are both avid gardeners- my dad likes cacti and vegetables the way my mother loves orchids and flowering plants. The result is that there is always an amalgamation of various plants growing and being cultivated throughout each season- the dahlias in the winter, along with the chrysanthemums, the laudanum and jacaranda in the spring, whilst the mangoes, tomatoes, tamarind, jackfruit and grapefruit trees provide a spattering of fruit throughout the year.
Until my parents started growing tomatoes two years ago, I didn’t realize that they come in so many different sizes and patterns.
My favorite activity, of course, is the immediate gratification that comes with the picking, and I gladly take up the task when it is offered me. It’s a marvel to see how many shapes and sizes tomatoes can be- from specked green to pear shaped to a deep magenta.
Of course, the most fun part of the yield is simply the volume itself, and separating various types of tomatoes. Check out the pear shaped ones in the right hand lower corner of the picture!
I love becoming creative with tomatoes. A fun meal which a friend introduced me to was this amazing shakshuka, a Tunisian egg and tomato dish which brings out the tangy flavor of the tomato.
Of course, tomatoes are also amazing when enjoyed in a salad, or alone.
Some fun facts about tomatoes:
1. Until 1820, North Americans thought tomatoes are poisonous.
2. Botanically, tomatoes are a fruit, but they are defined under the Tariff Act of 1883 as a vegetable.
3. There is no mention of tomatoes in the Bible, Shakespeare, or Jane Austen.
4. Charles Dickens uses the word “tomato” six times in Pickwick Park, always followed by “sauce.”
5. The Italian word for tomato is “pomodoro,” which means “golden apple.