Summer Heat Takes On The Tomatoes

By Carol Ann Sayle
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Photo by Carol Ann Sayle

Darn it. "Black Cherry" tomatoes are supposed to be, well, black! And "Snow White" cherry tomatoes should be white! And the "Miniature White" cucumbers. Yep: white.

Not down here on the torrid frontier, however. The black tomatoes are russet at best. The white cherry tomatoes, and the white cukes are cream-colored, sliding into full yellow if they gain any girth at all.

It's the heat. The horrid heat. Heat without rain. Baking soil, toasting plants. No wonder the vegetables can't live up to the hype of the seed catalogues.

So, to deal with this confusion, since we can't change the weather, we just rename the veggies for the sales tables in the farm stand. Black Cherry becomes "Dusky Rose." Snow White cherry tomatoes are renamed "Sunshine Cherries" and the Miniature White cukes become "Chubby Blondes."

"Oh, wonderful," says a farmstand customer, eyeing the lemon-colored cucumbers. "Finally, a vegetable named after me!" And she buys some gleefully.

Her namesakes may be chubby and they may be blonde ... and they also taste great.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2009/07/summer-heat-takes-on-the-tomatoes/20691/