Open Letter to the First Garden Tomato of the Year

Dear tomato,

I probably should not be so excited about you. And I especially should not be broadcasting my over the top, speaking to inanimate foodstuffs, excitement to the world, as it makes me sound a little bit crazy. But here I am.

You are comically small, for a tomato that came off of our “beefsteak tomato” plant. It took you forever to grow and ripen. But I watched you, and followed your progress, and you beat out the San Marzano and grape tomatoes, still green on the vine but growing every day, to be this summer’s inaugural garden tomato. I monitored your ripening very attentively as there is a nefarious squirrel in our garden who likes to beat me to the punch and steal a tomato just one day or so before it’s ripe, take a single bite out of it, and then leave it on the ground for me to find, a sort of calling card of its dodgy dealings. I am glad you did not fall prey to that fate and that I got to pick you, fully ripe, this morning. Fuck you, squirrel. I win this round.

I will wait to eat you until Graeme comes home. We probably consume you on slices of fresh bread with a little salt sprinkled on top. We will inevitably wax poetic about how there are just no tomatoes that compare to garden tomatoes. And while I will savour you, I will also feel kind of bummed out, because the appearance of this first tomato also means that it is late enough in the summer to be eating garden tomatoes. It means that summer is half over. You, my little fresh garden tomato, are a wonderful reminder of how sweetness and melancholy often present themselves hand in hand; the start of tomato season is both exciting and magical, and also a reminder that summer will end.

But for now, welcome!


PS – Lebanese cucumber, you’re next!


11 thoughts on “Open Letter to the First Garden Tomato of the Year

  1. A touching and poignant letter to the first fruits of your garden. Your moving words have inspired me to write an open letter to the squirrels who eat my tomatoes. It will consist only of the words you addressed to the rat-bastard squirrel in your yard. And it will be etched in the casing of every .22 slug I expend on those rat-bastard pea-brained rodent scum squirrels. Thanks again for your motivating prose. Obviously, it has touched my heartstrings.

  2. I wonder if you can thank Daisy for the sudden reticence of your garden squirrel. This summer without Milo, suddenly I’m finding half-eaten almost-ripe tomatoes laid out along my fence for the first time.

  3. Nancy, I suspect that having a child is a *bit* more difficult than growing a tomato, but what do I know? :)

    Gila, we were wondering the same thing! Daisy does spend a tonne of time in the yard, but maybe she leaves a smell that wards off the squirrels? We haven’t been seeing them as much as usual. Our new downstairs neighbours also have a dog, so maybe that helps too.

    Tomatoes are so amazing! We ate this one last night just as I had suggested in this post and it was so delicious. Tastes like the sun.

    • With the exception of the utterly fearless high park raccoons in our neighbourhood, the other local urban animals behave just like the rural ones and shun areas that have been scented with the urine of larger animals. When we had Milo, he kept out the squirrels, neighbourhood cats (who seem to think vegetable gardens are a giant litter box), and even many of the birds who ate the cherries from the top of our tree, but didn’t have the guts to eat the ones from the lower, Milo reachable branches.
      Milo eventually managed to keep the raccoons away too — but only after he beat a few up. Thankfully, apparently they communicated with each other about the untouchable garden because the raccoons at least don’t seem to have returned.
      Aside from getting another dog (in time, in time), the other logical solution would be to get Dave to pee around the edges of the yard since he’s a pretty large animal, but for some reason he’s not interested. And he’d have to redo it after every rain…

      • Geez, why can’t Dave be more cooperative? :)

        If it’s the pee that would keep squirrels away, then I don’t think it’s Daisy, as she’s a little princess and won’t pee in the yard–I think she identifies it as part of her “home”. She’s only peed in it maybe twice in the entire time we’ve had her?

        PS remind me to tell you sometime about how obedience school with Daisy has been going. GREYHOUNDS.

        • Hair and dander will do it too, anything that leaves a scent… but Daisy doesn’t strike me as particularly shed-y… perhaps she’s extra danderful?

          So, greyhounds and obedience school: short attention span? Too clever for her own good?

  4. Fuck you, squirrel, indeed! I actually caught sight of our resident critter (black squirrel) making off with a cuke the other day. However, the super-sonic critter zapped seems mostly to be doing its job, as evidenced by the bounty we’ve had lately in cukes and zukes, and now starting, in tomatoes. Yay!

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