Sunday, June 17, 2018

As Seth Writes: Don't Put Clinkers On The Bottom ...

Yes! The last sentence here – "If the farmer is the sort of person who won’t put the clinkers on the bottom, she’s earned our trust" – called to mind the annual purchase of Roma tomatoes that Mom and I make.

For many years, we went to a particular farm stand, not nearby, to buy half-bushels of Roma tomatoes for the pasta sauce we make each year.

The quest was always a bit of a crap shoot. Depending on the season, there may have been either a dearth or surfeit of tomatoes. Timing really was everything. Sometimes, we were shut out. We had to pay a deposit for the bushel basket and then either forfeit it or make a return trek to claim it. And we weren't allowed to sort the tomatoes. Now, granted, the last person to buy a bushel shouldn't get a bushelful of tomatoes that are either under-ripe or past their prime but here's a crazy thought, farm-stand people: Don't include those in the bushels in first place, as Seth suggests.

One year, having been shut out, we made our way down the street, stopping at every farm-stand-looking place in our quest to find our 'maters.

We ended up about a mile away at a farm stand with several half-bushels of Romas. They were lovely. A helpful guy asked us which basket we wanted, fetched a cardboard box, and upended the basket into the box. (No need to pay a deposit here.) Logically, the tomatoes at the bottom of the basket are most likely to be a bit unwell, what with all that tomato weight resting on top of them.

He proceeded to pick out the yucky tomatoes and then replace them with nice tomatoes from another bushel.

And then he carried the box to Mom's car and put it in the trunk.

I tipped the guy a couple bucks, which he appreciated.

And we made kick-ass sauce.

Guess where we buy our tomatoes now? Guess where we don't even bother to stop anymore?

One business lost a customer forever. One business gained a customer for as long as it or we are around.

All for a handful of tomatoes. But really, for what the handful of tomatoes represent.

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