the smell of tomato leaves
Now that I have seven varieties of tomato finding their places in the world with the help of my windowsill and not nearly enough help from the sun, I must admit that sometimes I just like to smell them. They remind me of home a little, and of my mom growing tomatoes. I used to go out into the garden and pick tiny cherry tomatoes right off the vine, painted with the grey minerals of dried water. Sometimes I'd wipe them off on my clothes or take them inside, but sometimes I would just kiss them clean and eat them warm. I've never had better tomatoes.
I was also reminiscing about plums recently; my grandma used to grow plumbs and still grows apricots and pomegranates. Not even thinking about the season, I tried to buy plums recently, which was a huge mistake. They were a totally different kind of fruit, sour and clear, and N got a ranting earful about how I've been spoiled for life and I can't buy any of those fruits in a grocery store.
When I pick fruit (in the botanical sense), I always like to wait until the plants gives it up willingly--no pulling, prying, twisting, or cutting. Just a simple pluck. They're best like that, and grocery store fruit is rarely, if ever, picked so--farmers' markets maybe, but not stores, lest they spoil in transit.
As a kid, I used to sit in the treehouse that my grandpa built in the bigger of the two apricot trees and test the fruit until I got the ones that were ready to go that day. You could bite them exactly in half as easy as opening a book.
The plumb tree died when I was still fairly young, but I remember getting out a ladder and making my brother hold it so I could get the very best ones on top. We ran barefoot and wild...well, I suppose I still do.
I think I'll find a local pick-your-own-fruit orchard this year. But one day, I'll get my own land...
The photos are of the tomato seedlings I started just three weeks ago. Top to bottom: Yellow Pear, Brandywine, and Amish Paste.