The Free Range Gourmet Free range thoughts on the finest ingredients, cuisine, and fine dining in Hawaii.

Range Gourmet

  Local Hawaii ingredients used with an international flair

        ^BNanette^K^H (Gone but not forgotten) 1946-2020


Tuesday, January 30, 2007


New York Times editorial on: Tomatoes

It's a small thing perhaps, but I found two slices of a tasty orange tomato on my plate at Town restaurant in Kaimuki lunchtime today, and they were a little bit of joy.

We haven't purchased a supermarket tomato in years, and are always disappointed to find them in sandwiches and salads when we eat out. No restaurant will get stars from The Free Range Gourmet if they serve those tasteless excuses for actual food. There is so much better if they would only take the trouble to go get them.

I know that Americans are conditioned to accept the supermarket variety and so no one else cares. But if you've been buying the tasty varieties available at any farmers market, it's hard to accept the inferior product.

From an unexpected source, a New York Times editorial notebook, comes some information about why supermarket tomatoes are so bad, and the role that our federal government has played in reinforcing the no-taste veg as a standard.

Read the article here. Learn that:
a tomato must be at least 2 9/32 inches and no more than 2 25/32 inches in diameter.

.  .  .

For a backyard grower, taste is everything. But in commercial production, taste is an abstraction. It is what’s left after all the other criteria for a good commercial tomato have been met: disease resistance, regular shape, consistent ripening, the ability to withstand picking and packing and shipping, a long shelf life. Taste is too subjective, according to the Florida Tomato Committee, to judge tomatoes by.
The article ends by blasting the Bush administration for making an exemption so that methyl bromide, banned by terms of the Montreal Protocol, can still be used to ship a variety of winter tomato (the Ugly Ripe) from Florida.

I suppose he's doing a favor for his brother Jeb, but I don't feel like letting him poison me, another good reason to buy local when you can and skip buying the supermarket stuff when you can't.

Try doing all of your shopping at the farmers market. You'll hardly ever have to set foot in the Safeway. You'll get tastier, crisper, more nutrious food, help to keep Hawaii's ag industry going, minimize the use of foreign oil for transport, enjoy life more and feel better about yourself.


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