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Thursday, 14 May 2009

Why Do Supermarkets Taste So Bland?

For me even the organ vine-ripened varieties don’t come a patch to one freshly picked from my own plant. The thing about supermarkets is that choose varieties that look good on display, have a long shelf life and are not easily damaged by customer handling. They also stop the fruit from fully ripening by putting it cool storage. If you want really tasty tomatoes, my golden rule is never ever put them in the fridge.

Tomatoes are very easy to grow. Virtually any container, some decent compost, a bottle of liquid feed and your away. The problem is that it’s a bit late to start growing them from seed. Late in the season the plants on sale can also look a bit sad. Fortunately, tomatoes are exceptionally easy to grow from cuttings. Take a side shoot, trim the bottom and remove all but the top four leaves. Poke it into a pot of compost and it will start growing within a week or so.

If you don’t know a friend or neighbour who will give you a small bit of one their plants to get started, even starved and leggy plants from market stalls can be made young and healthy again if you use it for cuttings.

Written By Alistair Ayres

1 comment:

Callum said...

Hi Alistair,

I'm reading an insightful book on this topic at the moment entitled 'Shopped: The Shocking Power of Britain's Supermarkets', by Joanna Blythman. This book covers this issue in greater depth and detail, but highlights exactly the same points you've raised - ALL supermarket produce is grown to 'look good' on the shelves rather than have any flavour. In addition to this, it's also picked earlier than it should be in order to have a longer shelf life. It's not the growers' fault - they are simply reacting to terms dictated by bullying supermarkets. The only way the good people of Britain are going to get to eat fresh, tasty produce at the moment however, is if they source out a local farmers market, or indeed, grow it themselves.

I'm growing my own tomatoes from the confines of my balcony as part of an urban container gardening project -