Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Great Tomato Riots

It is mid-September. Like so many others I have been drowning in tomatoes for the last four weeks. Large, beautiful, tasty, fresh tomatoes. Yet, I go to our dining hall or any restaurant around and want a tomato on my sandwich, it is the same flat, tasteless red thing as always. After the softball game, we took the kids to the Chinese buffet in town and the cantaloupe was awful. Cantaloupe is in season! If there was ever as time when we should all be going, "Oooooh. THAT's a good lope," this is it.

I get the fact that if we insist on having tomatoes and melons in February that we will end up with produce that comes from very far away and is grown for volume rather than flavor. Anyone who wants an end-of-summer tomato in the dead of winter will be disappointed. But why don't we get end-of-summer tomatoes at the end of summer. Or, more pointedly, why do we put up with it? Why don't we have a problem with the fact that, absent sweet and fatty, our foods have no flavor? Is it a matter of acculturation, that we've grown to expect dull? Is it ignorance, have we lost the collective memory of what delicious tastes like? Why do we allow them to even put the word "fruit" on fruit cocktail? Why do we allow them to serve brown flaccid green beans to our children in elementary school cafeterias? Is it that we've lost all connection with production? Why do we let them get away with literally shoving this bland not good for your body, only good for the bottom line corporate food down our throats when local farmers are struggling? Why aren't we having tomato riots?