This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
Have you had a good tomato this summer? A real tomato, plump and imperfect. A tomato that was grown outside in a garden somewhere. A tomato that tastes like a tomato. A tomato that's firm enough to hold together, yet juicy enough to make a mess.
Our stores are full of tomatoes, but few of them are memorable. Modern tomatoes lack character and taste. They feel more manufactured than grown.
When I was a kid working on the farm, picking tomatoes was one of the great jobs. Hard work to be sure, but several times a day, when you had the perfect specimen in your hands, you'd rub the dirt off on your shirt and take a huge bite. Heaven.
If you're lucky enough to be close to a farm stand or if you have a farmers' market in your town, do yourself a favor: Get some tomatoes and bring them straight home. Slice them — not too thin. Drizzle on a little olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and about two twists of fresh ground pepper.
Now it's officially summer.
Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.
By Harry Smith
Copyright 2006 CBS. All rights reserved.