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Jan 4, 2013 06:01 PM

Dear seed catalog copywriters...

I know you don't have easiest or the most interesting job in the world. It must be pretty tough to come up with dozens of ways to describe the taste of a tomato or an onion. Because let's face it, tomatoes mostly taste like tomatoes. There just aren't that many ways to distinguish an Oregon Spring from a Brandywine from an Early Girl.

But for the love of peat pots, can you lay off the "sweet," already? Mortgage Lifters have a "delectable sweet, mild flavor." Yellow Pears are "delightfully sweet." Legends are "very sweet." Pink Wonders have a "mouth-watering sweet and tangy flavor." There are tomatoes named Sugary Hybrid, SunSugar Hybrid, Sweet Hearts, Sweet Million, Sweet Baby Girl...good lord.

And don't get me started on the onions. They have "sweet, firm white flesh" or a "high sugar content" or "just the right sweetness."

I know there are only so many words. But these are vegetables, not candy (yeah, yeah, tomatoes are fruits, whatever). Is our ultimate goal really to harvest a crop of pixy stix?

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  1. I totally understand where you are coming from. But I think we (you and I) are just the minority here. In fact, I was and still am confused about why many foods as described as sweet, like "this XXX Scotch has a touch of sweetness", this "XXX beer is sweet", or the "cage-free chicken has a sweetness which other chicken do not have....etc", and needless to say that scent is often described as sweet too, like this soap smells sweet or this perfume is sweet....etc.

    I think people often use the word "sweetness" as a way to describe anything with a sense of pleasantness.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      I think you may be on to something. Maybe "sweet" is just a lazy catch-all positive. If you can also use the word to describe a gesture, an outcome, or a person's disposition, its meaning must be awfully broad. Unfortunately, reading it so many times has made me hear it in my head in the voice of Cartman from South Park.

      1. re: small h

        <Unfortunately, reading it so many times has made me hear it in my head in the voice of Cartman from South Park.>

        Do you like fishstick? :P

        (I've just watched that old episode yesterday).

    2. I yearn for a little standardization, myself. Could we have the drought tolerance, disease resistance, approximate yield (I'd settle for "heavy" vs. "everything else"), etc listed for each variety?

      I'm cranky cause I spent way to much time researching fruit tree cultivars, falling in love only to have my hopes dashed by another gardener's experience on the garden web forums. (I'm looking at you, suckering shrub cherries). But I think the seed catalogs could do a better job of being more thorough, too.