What If . . .?

As we harvest the last of this season’s tomatoes, I can’t help but wonder if we would even have a garden if grocery store tomatoes were any good. When we first started a few plants in planters years ago, the first things we tried were tomatoes and cucumbers. I don’t think I am alone with that. After marginal success, and a few great tasting tomatoes, the garden expanded. And expanded again, a few times. We now grow a number of varieties, none of which are available in a store by me. The same is true for most plants we grow. One of the big revelations for us was chocolate tomatoes. I had never even seen them before, but oh the taste, the taste was like no tomato I had had. Sweet, low in acid, meaty.

Gardening can readily become an obsession as one experiences vegetables that taste like something. Even home-grown carrots taste much better than any I have had from a store. Sure, part of the taste is the psychological benefit that I grew it, but, the varieties of vegetables sold at stores were not selected for taste; mine are.

This coming weekend the tomato plants and most others will be pulled up. Water will be disconnected to areas no longer growing anything. And only a few hearty plants like kale, Brussels sprouts, and some winter squash and gourds will be left to grow. The second half of the great plant migration is largely over, but that is a subject for another time.

Enjoy the end of the season harvests. Try to remember what vegetables can, and should, taste like through the winter.

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