I have removed the remnants of last summer’s tomato plants from their pots in my garden.
As I pulled them out, I remembered tending to them back in the heat of January and February. I had become sick of watering them, of going out the back door of my cool home and wading through the treacle-like heat to get to the garden hose.
There were certainly times when I through I shouldn’t bother to grow tomatoes. “Are they worth the trouble of planting, watering and the cost of the fertilizer,” I questioned?
But I persevered because I knew home grown tomatoes are so much better than the supermarket ones with their hard glossy skins. Eating a home grown tomato is one of life’s joys.
Firstly the taste is much sweeter than the store bought. This heightened sweetness counterbalances the tomato’s natural acidity so the home gown taste is not too sharp on the palette. Instead the flavour is smooth, like velvet.
Then there is the texture; home grown tomatoes are softer, plumper and juicer. They easily rupture in the mouth so only a gentle bite is needed to release their sweet juice.
Despite the summer heat, I enjoy the simple task of harvesting my tomatoes.
First I brush past the rosemary to reach the tomato pots. The rosemary releases its lively invigorating scent; a fragrance more restorative than a cup of strong tea.
Then I lean over the basil growing in front of the tomatoes and my clothes become impregnated with the aroma of fresh basil. It’s a clean, almost virtuous smell.
But it the smell of home grown tomatoes which I like the best. It’s an earthy honest scent which lingers on your hands.
When I recently removed the old tomato bushes my fingers were infused with this lovely fragrance. I took a deep breath and on a cold winter’s day I could smell summer.