God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left. Lamentations 3:22-24 (The Message)
You might say “towmato”, I might say “toematoe”, but whatever you say, today was all about tomatoes for me. One of the things I enjoy doing most in my job is writing, even if it means providing text for publications that are completely statistical in nature. I love it when someone reads all about percentages, averages and volumes and says, “Wow, that was fascinating!” almost as much as I do when I tell a good historical tale that listeners repeat back to me the next time I see them. What can I say, (other than “toematoe,” I’m a word geek.) On Friday, I was handed the assignment to write a report about our county’s six main agricultural commodities (yes, the word is commodities, not products) which are: vegetables, citrus, livestock, aquaculture, ornamental horticulture and forestry. Did you know that “The annual impact of agriculture on the economy of Manatee County is estimated at over $500 million, and Manatee County ranks in the top ten of Florida’s sixty-seven counties in agricultural sales?” Well, it’s true because I read it on the Internet. From a reliable source I might add. The writing of the text didn’t take long at all, but finding an illustration for the cover was much harder. No one has been able to agree on what should be used. Some wanted a photo of a field of tomatoes, others, a basket of vegetables, still others, someone picking citrus fruit. The subject was narrowed to tomatoes, but nothing available to us was really what we wanted. So, today, I got out my camera and took a tour of our county in search of tomatoes. I started at our local farmer’s market where I found plenty of tomatoes, but not much in the way of photo opportunities. The aisles were narrow and dark. Nothing I shot looked pleasing to me. So, I bought some produce and went over to Manatee Village Historical Park, borrowed a packing crate and a dolly and staged some images there. After that, I went searching out east for a tomato field, but none of the fruit is ripe yet. I settled for a small local farm, and took a few shots, but again, most of the fruit is green. Finally, because it was suggested to me that the cover should feature “a single ripe, dew touched tomato” I put together a black drape for a light box and took those shots as well. Even though most tomato farmers try to keep their tomatoes from getting wet since it causes rot! Even though I was “working”, I was having fun with my camera and learning a lot about how it works. Practice is essential in building skill in any task including the Christian walk. There is a great song playing on the radio now that says, “We fall down. We get up again.” Sometimes, I make mistakes and don’t act like I should. But, every day is a fresh start. Unless you are a rotten tomato.