Susan Johnson is a local mom of three teens who enjoys dabbling in writing, cooking, and gardening.

Dear Tomato Plants,
I’m writing today to inform you of my serious disappointment in your product this season. As I have been pleased with your fruits in the past, I am hoping that you just stumbled a bit. Surely next year will bear more fruit – a bumper crop! – instead of a bummer crop.
From day one, I was encouraged by the sturdiness of your stems and leaves. Your green limbs were already laden with yellow blooms, a promise of the tasty fruits to come. My anticipation was short-lived, however. Just as you were starting to bring forth masses of product, your leaves grew black spots and began to turn yellow. Early blight – that dreaded plague all gardeners hope to ward off with their green thumbs and fingers crossed. The only yellow you should be wearing is your pretty set of blossoms.
I quickly plucked diseased leaves in an effort to stop the advancement, not leaving many to spare. You had become spindly and top-heavy – the fruit appearing as tumors instead of cheeky tykes peeking through verdant greenery. Yet still I forgave you. After all, the product was still there and progressing nicely albeit without the lush growth.
I did manage to procure a few of the fruits and found them delicious. You do know how to produce a tasty product!
You also know how to attract unwanted guests. Imagine my frustration when I went to pick some of your product for a delicious salad only to find that someone else had been there first. The horror of seeing juicy globes of fruit scattered across the ground with tiny bites taken out of each one.   The “guest” had decided not to partake of the whole fruit but to sample from each one – as if they would all taste unique – leaving me crestfallen. Not only did they sample from the ripe fruit but also the green. I suppose I could understand only taking one bite from the green ones – those are best dredged in cornmeal and fried to a golden crispiness. But to leave most of the red fruit lying there – that’s a crime against nature!
Over the past few weeks I have managed to sneak a few small green fruits to ripen on the windowsill. But all in all, the harvest has been unsatisfying. I’ve had to resort to visiting the local farmer’s market to purchase your goods. And the sellers I’ve spoken with have shared the same issues I’ve had with your product. You may be receiving more letters from other customers encountering a mediocre harvest. I am not asking for a refund, only that you hear my frustrations and promise to produce a quality product next year. I have faith that you can meet these goals: juicy, tasty fruits in large quantity. It’s really not too much to ask. Please know that your customers are in your corner and looking forward to your best year yet.
Tomato Lover