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TOMATO: WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED
July 19, 2006
 
Tiny yellow tomatoes, sweet as grapes, with just a bit of tang: we've been eating them for about two weeks.

Fat red ones: the first. Today, probably. Q will serve no tomato before its time. You determine a tomato's readiness to be picked by tickling its bottom. If it falls off the stem into your hand, it was ready.

In the garden, this year is the year of the heirloom tomatoes. Strains grown in the Americas before the Europeans arrived on these shores, strains not grown by the enormous commercial farms -- too juicy to ship well, or ripening later than everyone else, or just funny-looking: striped or ridged like a pumpkin or dark, almost-black purple and green, instead of bright red. Tomatoes that demand too dramatic a paradigm shift for the general public to embrace.

They have wonderful names: Black Krim, Cherokee Purple, Tiffen Mennonite. There's one called "Earl of Edgecomb." Edgecombe is Q's middle name. Note to self: grow "Earl of Edgecomb" next summer.

Some of the heirlooms seem to be growing very, very tall. Q stakes them with bamboo, and they are eight feet tall and climbing. It may require a ladder to pick them, when the time comes. And their leaves are not the cut leaves we associate with tomatoes: they look like mittens! Very interesting.

Well, interesting to us. Growing these old strains gives us an agreeably countercultural feeling. This is not Monsanto or Dole or Cargill; this is just Quaintance and Crafton. And we shall not be moved.


We Shall Not Be Moved
author and composer unknown
chorus

We shall not, we shall not be moved!
We shall not, we shall not be moved!
Just like a tree that's standing by the water,
We shall not be moved!

The union is behind us!
We shall not be moved!
The union is behind us!
We shall not be moved!
Just like a tree that's standing by the water,
We shall not be moved!
chorus

We're fighting for our freedom!
We shall not be moved!
We're fighting for our freedom!
We shall not be moved!
Just like a tree that's standing by the water,
We shall not be moved!
chorus

We're fighting for our children!
We shall not be moved!
We're fighting for our children!
We shall not be moved!
Just like a tree that's standing by the water,
We shall not be moved!
chorus

Black and white together!
We shall not be moved!
Black and white together!
We shall not be moved!
Just like a tree that's standing by the water,
We shall not be moved!
chorus
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