I'm increasingly perplexed by the poor quality of tomatoes when we're in the height (albeit waning days) of tomato season. My lunch today contained tomatoes of such lackluster quality — mealy and pale pink — that I was forced to remove them from my sandwich. Which makes me realize that food service companies must not get tomatoes locally, since that would necessitate switching vendors with the timing of the tomato season. Instead the tomatoes must come from a consistent source, probably some farm in California or Mexico, who can reliably offer tomatoes year-round. But what's the point?
This summer I rediscovered the joy of eating a really ripe strawberry in June. I experienced the thrill of the first corn-on-the-cob of the season and the sadness as I bit into my last, knowing that it would be another year before I tasted the sweetness of an ear. Is it worth it to have certain fruits and vegetables year-round when the quality so obviously suffers? Wouldn't it be better to have really delicious tomatoes in a salad or sandwich for a few magic months, and then just let it go? I think of the bad tomatoes, the strawberries in California supermarkets that were large but never very sweet, the Red Delicious that are certainly Red but not Delicious, and realize progress isn't all it's cracked up to be. Sure, it would mean eating cabbage, apples, and potatoes all winter, but honest, after today's tomato, I think that'd be preferable.