Tomato: five stars for what is usually a four and a half star fruit. I will briefly describe two scenarios, before posing a question regarding the two scenarios. In the first scenario you are at your manor, where you have been tending carefully to a small tomato plant for the last four months. You selected only the seeds from the finest fruits of last year’s harvest. Rather than scattering the seeds haphazardly, you individually placed each seed in a small hole that you poked in the exposed loam. You watered them every day, and as they grew you scoured the leaves, removing any insects and arachnids. With such care and attention given to these plants, surely the tomatoes they produce would be the finest in the land.
Now, let us consider a second scenario. You are on an adventure with your eldest nephew, in search of pamplemousse juice. You are accompanied by Blotch, your fractious mule. Blotch recently scarfed down some figs that belonged to a fruit seller, and you left quietly without drawing attention to the half-eaten figs. The fruit seller was not amused – and nor would I be, were I in his situation. You had only walked fifty metres down the road, when the fruit seller mounted his safety bicycle and pedalled forth, demanding payment for the consumed figs. You continued, oblivious to the shouts of the fruit seller, as you concentrated on using a curtain rod to curb your lameness. As he approached, you inadvertently sent your rod through the front spoke. This unexpected intersection of rod and spoke sent the fruit seller and his bicycle flying in opposite directions. The fruit seller saw his crumpled bicycle and began to yell more intensely.
Continuing the second scenario, reparations were made to the fruit seller for his figs and bicycle. You gave him what little remained of your money, your preserved strawberries, and the sack of potatoes you had previously purchased. This transaction mollified him somewhat, but left you with very little food: a day’s worth of gruts for you, and the two barrels of orange juice reserved for your eldest nephew. You continued along the road, already hungry for something beyond gruts.
When it grew dark, you settled in to spend the night in an abandoned train shed. The floor was covered in coal, and the wind howled through the openings at both ends of the shed. You boiled the last of your gruts in the kettle. In the morning, you diluted the remnant dregs with water and drank the insipid mixture. You followed the access road next to the train tracks towards the south coast. When you stopped to eat some chickweed off the edge of the road, your eldest nephew thrust some orange juice upon you. You steadfastly refused. After the ensuing scuffle had finished, Blotch had wandered off into a patch of tall grass. You limped over to find him chomping on a red berry, in a whole field of red berries.
You grabbed one of the red berries and ate it. It was a tomato: a five star tomato. It had a mellow sweetness with a wild burst of flavour. You had brushed the leaf when plucking it, and now a unique aroma spread around the area. With such providence, surely these tomatoes were the finest in the land.
We have now seen two different scenarios, which both claim to produce the finest tomatoes in the land. The question put to the reader is therefore: which of these two tomato scenarios do you believe produces the finest tomatoes in the land?