The stall is unattended. Some days, like yesterday, it’s all tomatoes. Other days, it’s a mix of giant zuchinni, yellow squash, peppers, and yeah, tomatoes. You pull up into the dusty lot, step out of the car into the heat, and the smell and the taste of tomatoes envelopes you.
There are two handwritten notes attached to the metal moneybox. One apologizes in advance for nibbles by wandering deer. The other explains that the stand is closed on Wednesdays, in solidarity with the farmer’s market.
Sometimes you have to find the bowl of the scale that’s blown off into the weeds or down the sidewalk, sometimes the bags are all gone. But the one thing that seems constant is that the box is stuffed with money, you have to work a little to push your dollars into the slot. You realize then that you are paying for two things, really: the divinity of fresh tomatoes, as well as the chance to prove you can be trusted.
*Post title from Pablo Neruda’s Oda al Tomate (English translation)