In summer 2000 my father's cousin Morris Bailey gave me some tomatoes from his garden. And it has been two years since then that I had a good tomato. This week, September 2002, someone at work brought in a bag of tomatoes and left it on the conference room table, along with a note to "help yourself." So I took a couple.
When I was young the local grocery stores would buy produce from local farmers in season. Then we could have homegrown vegetables and fruit. But no more; today's grocery chains need a steady year-round supply; so they buy in bulk from Florida or Mexico. Those tomatoes are cultured to ship and keep well so it doesn't matter if they are dry and unripe. Homegrown tomatoes are intended to be good first of all, and do not need to handle or keep well.
Anyway, a good and ripe and juicy tomato gives one the chance to eat a real tomato sandwich. Sandwich bread is thickly coated with mayonnaise. Then tomato slices a half inch thick are laid on with lots of salt and pepper. The only way to eat it is over the kitchen sink or out in the yard, because the juices will run down your elbows for sure.
I am still (fall 2007) blessed with home grown tomatoes, this time by Margaret's son in law, Lou. He planted a few tomato plants and gave us a few this mid October. Last week I ate a tomato sandwich with mayonnaise and cheese, it was fantastic.