One summer pleasure that I will never, ever get over is eating ripe, local tomatoes — tomatoes that taste like tomatoes. This past summer, I also harvested potatoes for the first time, in my little sister’s backyard garden, where she’d grown a plant in a stack of old tires. We knocked them over and found little nubbin potatoes and big fleshy potatoes, which was fun. And then we put the potatoes in a corn chowder and felt very satisfied.
For reasons that are not entirely clear, a U.K. gardening company, Thompson & Morgan, has decided that these two pleasures should be combined, physically, in the form of a TomTato plant. Potato and tomato plants are grafted together (by hand, supposedly) to form the mullet of summer vegetables: cherry tomatoes on the top, white potatoes on the bottom.
The only explanation for why, really, anyone would need this comes from a BBC source: “Many people don’t have that much space in their gardens and I imagine this sort of product would appeal to them.”
It’s true that gardening space is often in short supply. Potatoes and tomatoes are also both nightshades, so it’s not so crazy to graft them together. But we have to guess that the similar spelling of the two names had something to do with it. For the record, we are mostly not in favor of grafting things together simply because they rhyme. For one thing, it seems really unfair to oranges. But we’re cautiously optimistic about the TomTato, because it seems like a good way to make both French fries and ketchup. Thumbs up.
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