Vegetables and Berries

Field Tomatoes

It seems all we have been doing in our spare time for the past month is staking and suckering tomatoes. Tomato chores rank pretty high on the tedium spectrum of vegetable farming – close runner-ups to weeding carrots (by far the most tedious of all vegetable chores).  But, as we keep telling ourselves, it’s worth it. Backs aching from stooping to stake plants when they are still low, hands stained green from the chlorophyll (tomatoes produce more chlorophyll than any other plant in our fields), and fingers blistered from the blue nylon cord we use for our California staking (a method invented in – you guessed it – California) are the price we pay every season in exchange for the vegetable we all know is a fruit, the magnificent pomodoro, or tomato. Tomato comes directly from the Nahuatl tomatl , literally “the swelling fruit,” from tomana, “to swell.” The etymology of the Italian ‘golden apple’ or its variant ‘love apple’ has never been satisfactorily explained, but it seems to hint at the fruit’s alleged aphrodisiac qualities.