By Hannah Mitchell
Growing up in North Carolina’s western Piedmont, I ate tomatoes from my parents’ vegetable garden from a young age. Once I got past the idea of eating those little seeds, I adored tomatoes — in the summertime.
In season, the vegetable-like fruit was good enough to eat by itself, as though it were peach flesh, so good that most people would eat it in sandwiches with nothing but Duke’s Mayonnaise.
Spoiled by that exquisite tanginess, I tend to avoid tomatoes out of season, as picky about them as I am about iced tea. Only canned, Roma or cherry varieties have any taste, color or pleasing texture this time of year, so why bother?
When a tomato shortage hit area grocery stores and restaurants recently after a January frost killed much of Florida’s late winter tomato crop, I couldn’t help but wonder about all the trouble people go to just to finish a sandwich with a slice of pale, grainy tomato. Ick.