Last week I picked several tomatoes from the two plants in my backyard. To my amazement, I got to them before either the birds or the bugs did.

The first thing I noticed was the wonderful smell on my hands. I think it was from the leaves. Smells always associate with memories, and this memory took me back to the tomato field of Alex Hilvers, a neighbor of my parents, who always employed my brothers and me to load the hampers of tomatoes the migrant workers picked.

The second joy of picking a fresh tomato is the unmistakable taste of this fruit ripened on the vine. There is something unique and authentic about that taste. It can’t be duplicated by the tomatoes from the supermarket. I often pick a tomato, wipe it off a bit and then eat it like an apple. 

I will likely have lots of tomatoes in the next few weeks, but the annual rite of first bite  is the ultimate reminder to seize the day when it comes. Tomato season is way too short.

“This is the day the Lord has made. 

Let us rejoice in it and be glad.”

Psalm 118:24