Catalog Mania

Just how am I supposed to control myself? I mean, really. The shapes, the sizes, the colors, the stripes…

I’m in catalog hel…heaven. The four color salivation-inducing publications start to roll in by about mid-November. By that time I’ve already committed online collections to memory so I switch to the larger selections found in these printed wonders and add tactile sensations to the whole bacchanalian scene.

It’s said that there are over 25,000 tomato varieties out there. At this time of the year I’m certain that’s true and that whomever said the aforementioned was being conservative. One’s head could just explode.

My goal each year is to find the newest, the greatest, the tastiest, the most dependable tomato one could ever grow/hope for. And, no, we don’t ever really get there given, well, every variable one can think of. But isn’t that the appeal of it all? And, while looking ahead to new varieties with great hope, we have to order, grow and honor the classics that are like old friends in the garden and have created the ’Mania that we all crave.

From one season to the next, and just when you think you’ve found THE ONE, it isn’t anymore. One year, I have a favorite black and then the next year it’s good but not great. A favorite orange cherry is super sweet and a hands down winner one year and then it’s easily eclipsed by a new pink grape the following season. So hybridizers keep breeding and collectors keep finding new rare offerings and the cycle, that lovely cycle, continues.

What’ll it be this season? The question of the day. The month. New beefsteaks that will amaze and astound? Sweet cherry tomatoes to tempt new and emerging ‘maniacs? A new blue to add some heft to your intake of antioxidants?

Answer, yes. And yes to that new green with the subtle stripe, or the dwarf plant that offers full size production on a compact plant, or the one that just couldn’t ACTUALLY be that color in real life. Could it?

Yes, the array is astounding, the options dizzying. And all that potential just flat keeps me up at night. In a really good way.