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Ode to the home grown tomato

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By Jonna Spelbring Priester

Guy Clark had it right. There’s nothing in the world better than a home grown tomato. Nothing.

We have in our office a wonderful tomato fairy. She brings us bags of tomatoes throughout the summer. Tomatoes of all types find their way into our office, and our tummies, thanks to the hard work of an employee and her family, and their tomato plants’ generous over production.

I don’t know how far back my love of tomatoes goes, but I can remember eating tomato and mayo sandwiches before I was 10.

My husband looked at me with the most bizarre expression the first time he saw me fix one.

“A tomato and mayo sandwich?” he teased. “You really do eat some strange things.”

Okay, I admit, he’s got me on that one. I do eat some strange things. But so does he.

But there truly is nothing finer than a home grown tomato. The bigger, the uglier, the better.

They come in such a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors it’s amazing. Did you know there are black tomatoes? White tomatoes? Striped ones too! And each has a unique flavor.

Oh, I know what you’re probably thinking. They can’t be that much better than what you’ll get in the store.

Oh yes, yes they can. I’m such a fan of homegrown tomatoes that I scoff at the perfectly round red tomatoes in grocery stores. That’s not a real tomato. Depending on the time of year, they might have some extra flavor, but they’ve got nothing on the big uglies (which my mother tells me are heirloom or ponderosa tomatoes), and certainly nothing on the cherry tomatoes I’m eating while I write this.

As I was waxing poetic about the tomatoes Tuesday, our reporter asked if I’d heard Guy Clark’s song called, appropriately, “Home Grown Tomatoes.”

She even printed the lyrics for me.

“Ain’t nothin’ in the world that I like better

Than bacon & lettuce & home grown tomatoes.”

Amen Brother Clark.

And I have to agree with his chorus:

“Only two things that money can’t buy

That’s true love and homegrown tomatoes.”

Shoot, homegrown tomatoes are true love.