can’t judge a book by its cover

Meet Cherokee Purple.  I remember that when we first met, I thought this tomato was kind of weird-looking. Maybe even – dare I say it?  I’ll let someone else say it.

“The ugly ones are heirlooms,” an organic farmer told me at the Fountain Inn Farmer’s Market as I peered into a bucket of tomatoes.  “The really ugly ones are Cherokee Purple.”

This is a famous tomato.  It has a rather unusual history, and a lot of fans.  There’s even a website devoted to the pleasures of raising and eating of this tomato.  This one tomato.  (That’s kind of over the top; don’t you think?  Although I liked looking at their site…what does that say about me?)

So I grabbed one and tried it and wondered why the big fuss — and wondered what I was doing raising such slow-developing plants, myself.  Ours had been holding green and fat tomatoes for over a month by then, with not a hint of color, but using up the same amount of organic fertilizer, manure and water as all the others.  I’d been trying to be patient in hopes of something spectacular.  This taste from the market told me I was holding out for something only a little above average.  I felt tricked.

And then, finally, our Cherokee Purple tomatoes began to ripen.

Now I understand.  And now this photo makes me salivate.  These tomatoes are not ugly.  They are beautiful.

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