Tomatoes in the winter

I miss my local farmer’s market, despite having stocked up on delicacies like honey and maple syrup from local farmers.  Granted, I know that the farmers don’t have produce in the middle of winter, but I still want some.  And none of that irradiated blah crud from the grocery store will fill this craving, despite their best advertising efforts.  (and yes, I know they import produce from South America – the longer it ships, the worst it tastes.)

Still, some farmers have gotten smart.  Genius, even.  Who doesn’t crave a nice, vine-ripened, homegrown tasting tomato in the middle of winter?  It’s the essence of summer that we’re missing, not just the tomato.  And one semi-local farmer has figured out just how to satisfy those cravings and make some money off of us.

Somewhere in the depths of Maine there is a farm with a whole bunch of greenhouses.  I don’t know exactly how they do it – I’d guess they’re using real dirt judging from the taste of the produce, but they’re growing cocktail tomatoes that taste wonderful.  They cost a lot too!  But, if I’m going to buy tomatoes in the middle of winter, might as well get ones that taste real when I do splurge.  

It’s rather funny to think of tomatoes growing in the snow, and I’m sure that farmer uses a king’s ransom of electricity to keep the greenhouses warm.  As far as “green” living goes, this probably cancels out any effects that canvas shopping bags and CFL lightbulbs have on our carbon footprint and all that.  Still, I don’t feel too guilty about chowing down on tasty tomatoes.  After all, I have to eat healthy too, right? 

Note: after finding and reading this NYT article on the grower, apparently they use renewable energy from a local hydro-electric dam, no pesticides, and real bees to pollinate the plants.  No wonder they taste so much better.

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