UglyRipe™–Bring Home the Flavah!

When I was little, I remember gathering with my family–whether at Nana’s, Maw-Maw’s or Aunt (aint) Clara Bo’s (clerboz) house–to feast off of an immensely overpopulated dinner table of steak; rice & gravy; fried chicken; chicken & dumplin’s; big, fat buttermilk biscuits; stewed potatoes; deliciously greasy, wilted green beens; and a plate of salt & peppered, freshly sliced cucumbers & tomatoes. Often, a few onion slices were thrown on the side for good measure, but, for sure, the cucumbers & tomatoes were always there. I can smell the rich goodness just thinking about it. But times have changed. I would love to know how to cook everything my family did, but I am now living in the working age. Working to survive–no happy homemaker here. Though I do dream of that lifestyle, my mom consistently reminds me that I wouldn’t love it so much if I was expected to do it every day. Well, I would if I could still freelance from home, put my kids in boarding school and do lunch with my friends. At least I would have time to learn the rules on making the perfect wilted green beans. Ahhhh, one day. Anyhoo, my focus is on tomatoes today. What did happen to those sweet, funny-looking, fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes? I certainly haven’t found them in my local Albertson’s, no matter what Patricia Heaton may say. I’ve tasted a few in the local farmers’ market, but still, they’re just missin’ sumpin’. Oh yeah, flavor. So where did it go anyway? Well, apparently, they’re holding it hostage in Florida, thanks to the Florida Tomato Committee (FTC). Procacci Brothers (P.B.S.)has been trying to keep its UglyRipe™ from being discriminated against. It is simply a rather bulbous, wrinkled heirloom derived from the “Marmonde” variety of France (Is the FTC still just tooting for Freedom Fries? Ugh!), that actually tastes like a real home-grown tomato. What a concept. quotes Dan McClure, a member of the FTC from Palmetto: ” Let’s take the Miss America pageant. How often have you seen an ugly woman in the pageant? The same thing applies here.” Ouch! The truth hurts. It also quotes a retort from Joe Procacci: “It is like a beauty pageant. The committee only cares about beauty. I’d rather have a girlfriend who’s ugly but beautiful inside than have a pretty girlfriend who’s ugly inside.” Three cheers for Joe!!! The FTC website, however, claims that it is not hindering the shipment of UglyRipe™ tomatoes outside of Florida. Apparently, it is not yet allowed to make this decision. It can, though, set high standards for the appearance of Florida’s exported tomatoes. Hence, P.B.S. has had to toss tons of scrumptious tomatoes. They don’t get their money. We miss out on a slice of home. What gives? To find out more and/or to protest, check out these sites. And if anyone has had the privilege of tasting one of these puppies, feel free to comment.

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