Wow … I was in Wegman’s during a strange too-modern conference call on my iphone about good stickiness and page views on the Rock The Capital web site, and I happened on these really cool brown tomatoes.

They had a good heft, and a quality I can only describe as squeezability. Yeah, kinda like a hot date in high school or a good Lancaster County heirloom tomato. They smelled sweet, with an acidic side aspect. No earthy barnyard odor, no hard plastic California impression.

The proprietary name is Kumato.

They are grown in western Europe. Last time I looked, that’s about 3,000 miles away, roughly the same as California. So why do the California tomatoes taste like crap, and these tomatoes are juicy, firm, flavorful examples of veggie love?

Let’s recap. Lemme splain my local food wackiness.

Several years ago, I agreed to be a founding member of Slow Food Harrisburg. I introduced the Grand Local Slow Food Poobah to the culinary program at HACC. Dinners resulted. They were a bit precious. I mean no disrespect here. Slow Food is an okay movement; our friend Nate Keller is on a Slow Food board with Alice Waters in San Francisco, and I respect that. But Nate can source almost any imaginable food for his high-end Gastronaut catering service.

Because. It’s. California.

Slow Food in Pennsylvania, not so good. There are only so many root veggies we can get through the winter with. Tomatoes aren’t among them.

Slow Food started in Italy. This is only a guess, but I doubt there are many chapters in Sweden, fewer in Scandinavia. Slow Food is a bounteous, horn-of-plenty concept. For me, I don’t want to fly to Hawaii for a pineapple. I want it to come to me. Sue me.

The thing is, I want it to come to me in fresh shape, full flavored. As Leon Redbone says, I wanna be seduced. Too much to ask? I don’t think so. Somebody at Giant in Camp Hill should buy a Kumato and eat it … because, to me, local food means not having to drive all the way to Wegman’s.

And yes, I now know what it is like to be a jerk in a grocery store talking on a cell phone about page views, holding a tomato.


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