July 27th, 2009

The Love Apple

Our tangled galaxy of heirloom tomatoes has started to glow with color this week, and – barring a love apple apocalypse – we’ll be in fruit until frost. Caught below in flagrante delecto, they seem oblivious to blight, sun-colored and heat-swollen. Yes, there is something remarkable about a warm, unruly ravel of tomatoes, the kind of sensual squalor you don’t get from neatmarshalled rows tied up with string.

Love apple comes from the French (who else?), who thought the pomme d’amour was an aphrodisiac. The Germans had their Liebesapfel, the Italians theirpomi d’amore. It seems this little fruit gets around.

But these are tough times for the pommed’amour, and the plight of tomato farmers across the Northeast has hit prime time: Both the New York Times and NPR ran pieces on the fungusamungus, and Orange County’s black dirt region was singled out at particularly hard hit.

And the big box stores like Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Lowes – where the buyin‘ is cheap – seem to be complicit (surpirsed?).

So we can add a medieval black death of tomatoes to the minus column this year. Here’s a link to the Times article: Outbreak of Fungus Threatens Tomato Crop.

My advice: Savor every sweet, local liebesapfel that crosses your lips this season.

We Go Both Ways


Neat, marshalled rows. Efficient, very German.


The sprawl method: sensual squalor.

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