Monday, January 9, 2012

A found jewel...

I stood in the produce department this evening, bagged salad in hand, perusing their offerings, deciding what to dress it up with. I had already decided on my favorite winter fruit, a pomegranate, but I had a fruit craving. I needed something else. The strawberries looked over ripe, the pears looked green, the apples siney like plastic. I was hemming and hawing over whether or not to take a chance on some tasteless grape tomatoes when I spotted this jewel...

There was only one left. I snapped it up. It may disappoint in the end, but at that moment, it was a visual feast. And not just for me. Like I said, it was the last one left. I was not the only shopper to be lured in by creative packaging and the memories of warm, sunripened cherry tomatoes.

It was Andy Rooney who said "The federal government has sponsored research that has produced a tomato that is perfect in every respect, except that you can't eat it. We should make every effort to make sure this disease, often referred to as 'progress', doesn't spread."

But, not every tomato grower in America has jumped on the "perfect round red tomato" bandwagon. Well, maybe they did, but some have finally jumped off. And I'm not talking about just your local farmer's market crowd. Some people are working out how to ship that homegrown heirloom tomato taste out of season. At the forefront of this movement is the UglyRipe crowd.

I had heard about these before I actually saw them in my own local store. And you won't see them very often. They come packaged in an individual flack jacket to protect them from bruising and then rotting. I saved the flack jacket as an oddity in case I ever have to ship a ripe tomato. It was pretty good. I would think it was a brandywine, and in the dead of winter, or any off season month (November through July) it tastes pretty good.

So, how were the little yellow sunbursts in my salad tonight? Not bad. Not bad at all.