By: Rebecca Salerno
For as long as I can remember, my Nanu (grandfather in Sicilian) has always been obsessed with his garden; from his eggplants and sunflowers, to his mint and cabbage. He would spend countless hours digging and weeding, making sure that every inch of his garden was alive and thriving. At the start of every spring my father and I would go help my Nanu in his garden, just about every other week or so. This was a tradition we held up for 17 years, until my grandfather was unable to care for his garden anymore.
One of my fondest memories from that time was when my Nanu introduced me to cherry tomatoes. It was my first time working in his garden, and me being the curious creature I was I just had to ask what every single plant was. Most of the plants already bloomed, and were showing off their bounty; the one that caught my eye was the cherry tomatoes. I asked my Nanu what these red and yellow balls were, and he laughed at me and asked me if I was born under a rock. We walked over to the plant and told me that they were cherry tomatoes. He plucked one off its vine and placed it in my hand. “Try it” he said, my four year old self was a bit apprehensive about this foreign object I was about to ingest, So I made my Nanu eat one first just to make sure it wasn’t poison. Once I concluded that I wasn’t about to die from food poisoning, I popped the tomato in my mouth. Believe me when I tell you it was love at first bite. It wasn’t my first tomato product, but it was my first whole tomato, my first plain and simple tomato. When my my Nanu wasn’t looking I snuck a couple more tomatoes in my mouth, and then maybe a few more a minute later. I had become obsessed. From then on every time I helped my Nanu in the garden he would always ask me to do a product test on the tomatoes, to make sure they weren’t poison. Which I can confirm they were not poison.