Tomato tasting : This Clint Eastwood is a dud not a dude

the tomatoes are ready for tasting in the rooftop garden

 The invitation read

There are many words to describe the taste of wines, but we invite you to conquer new frontiers with words to describe the taste of Tomatoes.

You are invited to attend our Tomato Tasting where we will sample whichever of the 57 heirloom varieties growing on the rooftop of an office building at 124 Merton St (Yonge and Davisville) are at the peak of their ripeness at that moment.Why stop at the Metro on the way home from work, when a quick jaunt to your roof at work will yield fresher produce than any grocer?

This Edenic space is somewhere where tenants go to escape the rote world of the office, and pick organic lettuce for their dinner

After tasting twenty-five or so varieties of tomatoes  someone leaned over to look at the labels and cried, “Let’s taste the Clint Eastwood!” Who ever named this tomato must have known this tomato needed a PR boost that comes with a famous name. It was tasteless. Some one else asked, “ How tasteless is it ? Tasteless like supermarket tomato?”

That’s how far everyone palates  had advanced in an hour .What used to be the norm, a supermarket tomato, even to people who said in advance, that they didn’t have taste buds to detect nuances: became a standard of the lowest gastronomic rung or a pejorative description.

We began to pick out favorites. Corey Mintz, food writer for the  Toronto Star, who last year favored “Gold Medal”  http://www.thestar.com/living/food/article/723930–secret-ingredients-are-bounty-from-the-garden-and-dumb-luck switched allegiances and picked out “Wapiscon Peach” as this year’s star. Jennifer Agg of The Black Hoof , a charcuterie restaurant, wanted to make a “Vivian Tomato Salad” for the restaurant. A botanically based dish in a carnivore’s heaven? What a compliment! 

The tasting continued with everyone pitching in adjectives and favorites. Sarah Battersby of Toronto Gardens had just posted her blog on the 124 Merton street gardens
http://torontogardens.blogspot.com/2010/08/vivian-reisss-rooftop-veg-garden.html  in advance of her blog on the tastings. Am I giving her next blog away if I tell you Anna Russian makes a superb tomato sandwich?

Clara Kwon’s  www.plantifesto.com/blog favorite was the Spoon tomato and she was not alone in enjoying this tiny marvel. Joel’s, who refuses to eat tomatoes, favorite was the crunchy carrot plucked from one of the pots.  The black tomatoes, really dark red and green, even  though they are prone to cracking, were standouts. One of my personal favorites, Paul Robeson, is certainly the baritone of tomato tastes, rich and full bodied. Ariel opted for Tondose des Condores, a cherry tomato and Crynovic Yugoslavian, that she said tasted like a burst of tomato juice.

After we were all giddy from the tasting [who knew you could get high from eating tomatoes? Maybe only when you  you eat them grown on a high altitude like a roof!] One last tomato to taste, The Julia Child, a big ,very red tomato. As I bit into it and the juice began to dribble down my jumper, my voice mounted several octaves and I  nasally declared ,”Even if you bite into it on television and the juices roll down your front, you will keep your aplomb because this red red red tasting tomato is divine!” At under 5 feet in height I felt as tall as Julia.

 Such is the transformational experience of growing and sharing tomatoes on an office building rooftop.

Jennifer and Corey play hide and seek among the tomatoes

Crynovic Yugoslavian Tomatoes sliced on a roof slate

Anna Russian

Clara comtemplates a "Fuzzy" tomato

The carrot that got the paparazzi going and Joel's favorite

 If you would like to check out the office suites available where sampling organic tomato salad  on the roof  and in the lobby is  the norm, go to    www.124merton.com 

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One Response to Tomato tasting : This Clint Eastwood is a dud not a dude

  1. clara kwon says:

    thanks for the mention! & the tomatoes! i’ve been making great tomato-zucchini-peach omelettes with them. today i remembered that my favourite breakfast in new york at the coffee shop across the street from my office was the whole wheat bagel with light cream cheese and tomato. i stopped eating them because of tasteless tomato fatigue. i’m looking forward to getting some great montreal bagels and organic meadow cream cheese to make some delicious sloppy breakfast sandwiches with your tasty tomatoes. mmmmmmmmmmm!

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