If I had to pick one vegetable (well, fruit) to define gardening for me, it would be the tomato. The hearkening of the first ripe tomato ushers in the 'harvest' portion of the year, and from as early as I can remember, I was climbing up onto my mother's washing machine to get to the lacquered, woven-stick basket for tomatoes out of the cupboard, then heading out the back door towards the garden to collect ripe ones.
Today marks the day of the tomato, as I pick my very first ripe ones of the season. That honor goes to the first in line of my ten tomato plants, my Sungold.
This wasn't too much of a surprise, as they've pretty consistently been first the two years previous, though a few Riesentraubes gave them a run for their money last year. Sungolds also mark my first true concession into the realm of hybrid tomatoes since I've begun growing my own plants from seed. You simply cannot get the flavor and sugar of a Sungold in anything I've found in heirloom tomatoes. Other than the fact that they split when they've seen too much water at one time, the Sungold is quite possibly the perfect cherry tomato.