The First Tomato

There was just one single, solitary red orb, positively radiating life like a bright beacon in the night; it stuck out like a sore thumb in that sea of emerald green foliage. Though only the size of a marble, it weighed heavily in my mind, as every day it grew redder and more ripe. Grown from microscopic seeds, those supporting vines were the plants that no one believed would even grow. Sewn in unfriendly New England soil, known in particular for its abundance of large rocks, in a postage stamp-sized garden with moderate sunlight at best, planting them was a long shot from the start. By some miracle, and no small amount of love and long hours of weeding by my mother, those historically fickle plants not only grew, but eventually flowered, and then- Get this- Fruited. Such an ordinary act of nature that thousands upon thousands of gardeners must witness every year, but every time I gaze out at that patch of prolific greenery, I can’t hide my awe. We have our first tomato, perfectly shaped and colored, albeit of miniature size. But heck, size doesn’t matter. It could be as small as the head of a pin for all I care. That fact that it came into existence right here in my backyard, and is undeniably, utterly alive, well… I can’t think of anything that would taste quite so sweet.

37 thoughts on “The First Tomato

  1. What a beautiful post. Out of all the vegetables you can grow, tomatoes have to be one of the most rewarding. My garden is heaving with them at the moment but they’re refusing to turn red! I’ve been plucking a few here and there and letting them mature off the vine…

  2. Lovely! Mine are so far from ripening that I’m beginning to think they never will and I should just start making tons of fried green tomatoes, pickled green tomatoes, green tomato chutney…

  3. So cute! That second photo is amazing Hannah! Your photography is seriously getting unreal.

    I just found out from our doctor that you can actually grow tomato plants in the desert really well, with two harvests (one in late spring, one in early fall) – I’m so excited to do that next year! I’ve never grown a thing.

  4. Beautiful ode! We just trimmed our cherry tomato bush after hearing that all the “sucker” leaves were taking valuable nutrients away from the tomatoes themselves and keeping them from ripening. It’s truly a joy to see the plants grow and pick your very first fruit!

  5. you tomato is so very cute! this grower girl encourages you to grow as much as possible- there is so much joy to be found! i still find myself getting all gaga over the collards that got huge, the basil that flowers, the beans that fruit, etc. i am a garden dork.

  6. It’s weird that I get giddy whenever anyone posts about tomatoes isn’t it. Your photography is gorgeous on this post as is your prose. I am always both humbled and amazed by the fact you are so much younger than me. You’re just a natural at this! The shadows and textures are especially gorgeous.

  7. You should build a mini-meal around it! Accompanied by two grains of rice, a kernel of raw corn, and a black bean and you’ve got yourself a feast…for a fairy.
    Plus I firmly believe that tiny food is more potently delicious.

  8. Adorable. you have a gift for photographing food. Tomatoes are probably one of my favorite summer veggies (or is it fruit… :D).

    Thanks for writing!

  9. Haha, I love the second picture!-It’s so cute!!
    My tomato plant was eaten by a deer (along with my apples..)…ah well, they were here first :\

  10. {sigh} doesn’t it make your heart sing. I picked my first red cherry tomato today as well :o) And an orange one which didn’t look ripe but still tasted sweet. Oh happy days x

  11. I just love how you found so much beauty in that one teensie tomato. Good eye girl! I particularly love the fork and tomato photo.

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