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UPDATE: 3:39 PM 5/1/2009
A Little Story About Tomatoes

Call it a fruit or call it a vegetable, ithe tomato is one of the most beloved fresh staples in the entire food world.
Call it a fruit or call it a vegetable, ithe tomato is one of the most beloved fresh staples in the entire food world.
What would the world be like without tomatoes? No pizza sauce, no spaghetti, raviolis, no juicy hamburgers with fresh tomatoes or ketchup. Everytime I go to the store, every visit always includes some tomatoes...

The other day we stopped by a "regular" grocery store. One of those cavernous and colorful big box stores that blanket the landscape with universally recognizable names such as Ralph's, Vons, Albertsons, Stater Brothers.

This particular store is particularly inviting, I must say. In fact, we inevitably drop by this store before others because of the warm, cozy halogen lighting that spreads cheery light so lovingly on colorful endcaps with deli goodies, Pizza, Salads, tasty treats.

An aside: Why do those salads always call your name? Anyway...

Hitting the Veggie Isle
We hit the veggie isle forthwith and glimpsed these beauteous red orbs of tomato goodness on sale, non organic, for 99 cents a pound. What the heck, we thought, they look identical to the usual organic varieties we purchase at our local health food store. Let's grab some!

On occasion, it's always nice to save some money. On occasion? How about all the time? This raises a great question that I will answer further down.

So! We took our tomatoes home and I made my usual delish sprout and romaine salad that never gets tiring. (Send me some money, I'll send you the recipe. : )

I carefully washed and cut up my spiffy ripe tomatoes into bite sized cubes with my super duper Japanese nick-knife (tell me to tell you about nick-knives) and arranged them beautifully atop my little salad, added my usual little accoutrements, then settled in by my computer to do the Uge. (Do the Usual)

Let's just say, as the bowl approached empty status, there remained a fairly large quantity of uneaten tomato pieces at the bottom.

Now... why would that be?

It wasn't something conscious on my part.

I took a small chunk and realized it didn't taste as good as my tomatoes usually do.

And... evidently, my body, hand and mouth colluded together ND avoided those tomato pieces. That's a first, folks.

Lonely little pile of tomatoes, lovely to look at, (well, I think so) but not so yummy to taste...
My actual lonely little pile of tomatoes left on the bottom of the bowl, lovely to look at, (well, I think so) but not so yummy to taste...
As I tried to eat them anyway, I discovered that they were a bit tasteless, textured rather oddly, and lacked the "substance," the "sweetness" and fresh "tomato'ey" flavor so inherent in my organic tomatoes that I purchase at the Health food store.

It seemed so strange that hothouse tomatoes would be so different in flavor and texture... how can you go wrong with hydroponic nutrients?

Well, it seems you can. Go wrong, that is.

Will I again purchase those red globes of wonder at the regular grocery store? Not unless I have to...

The difference was so remarkable that the extra 25 cents or so per pound for the organic is totally worth is to me. I can cut back elsewhere.

It seems that I am a bit spoiled... my organic tomatoes taste home grown, and I had grown so accustomed as to take it for granted. And, I had forgotten how lucky I was to be able to enjoy such fresh home grown raw fruits and vegetables at low, reasonable prices.

Answering the Above Question
Oh - about that question above as to whether it's worth saving money all the time... at first, I would have to say yes as the budget is very much an important consideration, and all things considered, produce would seem to be pretty much the same.

But, in truth, spending a few extra cents on something that gives me so much more enjoyment seems very much worth it. When I need to save, I cut back in other ways, and actually, that helps me not eat what I'm not supposed to! : )

Another Wonderful Thing
There's a most excellent chance that you have Farmer's Markets fairly near by where you can purchase natural produce that could supplement your tastiness factor and up your reputation as a great cook. : )

Here's a link (Local Harvest) to see if a farmer's market is in your location if you're in the United States. (Link may open new window)
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