Tomatoes and stereos

August 10, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

In our country with its great distances between the agricultural areas and the cities that consume what’s grown, the tomato has been re-engineered. To survive long bumpy roads and the weeks required for transportation a thick-skinned heartier variety was designed with not a lot of flavor. Good enough. As a finishing touch, the tomato’s color has been designed a bright red regardless of ripeness.

The goal, of course, is to serve a decent product to the greatest number of people.

Something good enough.

In the same vein, consumer audio systems have been developed that are good enough. Good enough to play music at a level that keeps the majority of buyers happy. Decent bass, good highs, affordable.

High-end audio and good-tasting tomatoes are the exceptions, not the norm.

We know and appreciate the difference.

It’s what makes us who we are.

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52 comments on “Tomatoes and stereos”

  1. As we used to say at work, “near enough is good enough”.

    It was a joke btw. 🙂

    For any audiophile near enough is definitely not good enough.

  2. If you want your organically grown tomatoes hand-delivered the same day by umpalumpas, it’s going to cost extra.

    There’s another saying, “you get what you pay for”. Here in the UK food prices have gone through the roof. Many people get a weekly food delivery from a major supermarket. Most of our delivery is fresh produce. My wife has just changed supplier after about 5 years. Most of the order remains the same each week and it was just getting too expensive. Most consumers are very conscious of price/quality trade-offs and buy according to their budget.

    The way the supermarkets win is to offer better products at lower cost. Assuming people will pay a higher price and that competitors won’t offer products that are as good at a much lower price is the height of complacency.

    It’s fine thinking there will aways be a market for your products, until the customers go elsewhere.

  3. So-o-o-o you’re saying that the BHK600 has been genetically modified??

    We have big, red, vine ripened hydroponically grown tomatoes
    here in Australia that are positively de-e-e-e-e-elicious 😀

      1. Are you sure you’re getting a quality tomato or one that’s been GMO’d?

        Quality produce should hopefully be organic and sustainable to get the best, healthy nutrition. Reverse engineering.

        My preference in audio reproduction is sustainable and ‘organic’ as well to enjoy a natural sounding, enveloping musical experience. Possible reverse engineering?

        What are your thoughts Mike?

        1. I always purchase only organic produce and yes, these are organically grown. The problem is that word, organic, only means no chemicals or unnatural substances were used to grow it.

          The plant has been genetically modified for thicker skin and longer shelf life. And therein lies the next problem. When we hear about GMO we assume some gene splicing is going on. Not the case. It’s all organic and all natural. It’s the way we’ve been modifying everything from tomatoes to dogs for thousands of years. Selective breeding.

          Organic, no GMO. All the checkboxes. Still tastes like crap.

          1. There must be hundreds of definitions with regard to the meaning of organic produce or organic food of any sort. It’s a real crapshoot when you go shopping.In most cases, someone with reasonable taste buds that have not been shot off by a Mess Sergeant’s cooking can taste true organic in a heartbeat. Not much different than our listening or any other of our five senses if we have the passion within us. Both of us love to cook fall so I know what I’m talking about and I know that you do as well.

            BTW… A giant congratulations on being awarded an Absolute Sound Golden Ear Award for the FR-30s. You staggered the reviewer with the sound of these musical instruments. This is fact, not a shameless plug.

          2. Yep. I prefer Burpee’s Big Boy grown in organically composted soil with just the correct amount of irrigation, then patience while they fully ripen on the vine. They are thin skinned (like me), but have a really wonderful taste and mouth feel. I’ve been eating them for over 60 years. Obviously, they are selectively hybridized. But most people don’t live rurally anymore, hence the need to toughen up the skins and to pick them when they show the first trace of red color (breakers). This practice prevents the natural sugars from ever forming. Just give them some ethylene gas, exposure to bananas works quickly, and they turn red. It’s too bad. Color is not taste. The old way was better, but there are just too many mouths to feed too far away and it’s no longer sustainable. Sigh.

          3. GMO’s are designed to make the vegetable or fruit immune to insects or chemical sprays that are used to protect the produce. There have been studies linking GMO’s to health risks and some countries have banned them. It might make the produce hardy but it also makes it harder to digest.

        2. In my case whenever I can get produce from my own garden. Paying attention to where the seeds come from. Less yield at times and more susceptible to other things,

          Of course to do that year round is a challenge in my neck of the woods.

          As far as audio, like you I prefer organic, but that can also be a marketing buzz word. So to put things in a different light I like my audio detailed but smooth , big but intimate, loud enough but not shrill, punch without boom, and so on.

          I guess defining ‘organic’ sound is not easy or is just another game of semantics.

          Having a system that just satisfies my musical taste is good enough.

    1. FR – Here in the Pacific NW where I live the very best tomatoes are those hydroponicacally grown in greenhouses and shipped from Canada. My high end supermarket claims they are “unavailable” in the summer! The produce buyer there is trying to pawn off the so-called “heirloom” varieties which are mealy ( without seeds or juice ) and tasteless. It’s all about $$$. Sound familiar? Buyer beware.

      High end audio manufacturers the likes of PSA have found the “sweet spot” of price/performance in order to deliver a truly tasty meal, just like our own hp- grown tomatoes. Kent H

      1. Kent,
        “It’s all about $$$. Sound familiar? Buyer beware.”
        Aah…I love the smell of retail in the morning! 😉

        Without having heard any ‘PS Audio’ gear, I still
        come away with a real sense that as far as high-
        end gear goes the brand is one the best as far
        as ‘bang for your buck’ goes.

  4. Appreciation of a good tomato or a good HiFi aren’t mutually inclusive or exclusive.
    Good enough means a compromise somewhere.
    Like High End Audio, tomatoes come in a wide variety, and what determines “the best” is completely subjective.
    Living in a rural instead of an urban area can open up a whole world of speciality seasonal local produce and goods.
    By the same token HIFI isn’t seasonal and doesn’t perish quickly (one hopes)

    1. What sort of warranty do you get on them thar organic, GM, heirloom, “Still
      tastes like crap”, Farmer’s Market tomatoes in your neck of the woods, Mike? 😉

      1. The tomatoes I get locally are full of flavor. The warranty lasts as long as the shelf life. Get a shitty one – point it out to the very local grower. You’ll always get a no hassle replacement and quite often more in return.

        From my garden the shitty ones head to the compost pile.

        Audio warranty? Look around… and choose accordingly.

  5. I don’t agree with the “good enough” analogy for the audiophile ecosystem. I think it’s more like “never good enough”. Audio manufacturers that are constantly striving for better performance, and consumers who are constantly flipping system components hoping for something better.

    2 Apple AirPods operating in stereo mode are “good enough” for how most people listen to music.

  6. My wife brings home heirloom tomatoes from the local farmers market. These are analogous to boutique hi-end audio gear made in very small quantities. Unfortunately, I can no longer enjoy them because of their high acid content. My poor old tummy that has been abused by too many years of high stress levels and over use of NSAIDs is now to sensitive to acidic food and drink ( no more OJ ). I think this is analogous to the decline of our hearing as we age. 😮

  7. Fresh tomatoes vs canned tomatoes. Live music vs canned music. Canned gets us only part of the way there, no matter how fancy the label. Freezing is not an option with tomatoes. Even if it were, frozen vegetables loose some flavor and texture compared to fresh, as live music looses certain qualities when frozen on recording media.

    1. Joseph, A friend turned us onto frozen grapes! You wash them, spread them out in a container or on a sheet, and freeze them. Them you snack them frozen. It is a wonderful treat on a hot summer’s day.

      1. I’m waiting for someone to correct me when I compared tomatoes to vegetables when technically they are a fruit. LOL

        As a kid we had a grapefruit tree that produced the best tasting grapefruit ever. When it was loaded with a ripe harvest we would spend an afternoon peeling, sectionizing and de-seeding the grapefruit, packing them along with their juice in Bell jars and freezing. Months later when thawed they tasted almost, but not exactly, like they had just been picked from the tree.

  8. Paul, you were around in the 60’s – 80’s. The general public were able to purchase excellent sounding audio equipment for a reasonable price. There were audio stores everywhere and the USA manufactured all aspects of production except for Japan. Now even Japan is outsourcing to China. I recall most blue/white collar people able to get fantastic equipment without having to “purchase a home” in order to get quality audio. It is true that today most, but not all young people have no idea what quality is. Music appreciation has changed. You could sell cheap am radios and most young people today would be satisfied as long as it has booming! bass and monotone melody. It is time to bring the masses availability to quality audio without having to spend tons of money. The wealthy can afford the luxury of spending a lot of money for audio. The young people today are not educated in quality of audio/music. Most Audio Engineering Coursed today only teach technique; how to place microphones, run a mixer, plug in patches. Nothing is being taught about listening skills. What are we living behind for future generations? Do we tell them in order to be able to get quality audio you have to be rich! We have the ability to make a difference. It is like “Tesla Automobiles”. They are fantastic cars, but who can afford them. They promised they would lower there prices so the masses can afford them and our enviornment can recover. What happened?….

    1. linuxguy123,
      Don’t kid yourself that electric cars will ‘save the planet’ as there is still a huge carbon
      footprint created in their manufacture…not to mention the large amounts of toxic
      run-off from the manufacture of the LiON batteries to power said electric cars.
      Push-bikes are the best answer since the population in Western nations,
      in general, is getting fatter…we need to burn-off all of those calories 😉

      1. Yes, there is a contradiction in the process, but isn’t that true about everything. The idea is to strive toward the goal. Look at manufacturing speaker for example: creating castings out of plastic for enclosures, oil that is used, trees that are destroyed, metal manufacturing, precious metals for wire and contacts. Eventually, we will find a solution to all these things. We can make excuses not to move forward in our endeavors. How about ionic speakers which is more direct, excited the air molecules directly without using mechanical methods. Yes, there is distortion, but we will eventually find the answer……

        1. linux,
          Sure!
          In theory I agree with you.
          The problem is that it’s going to be too little, too late.
          China pretends to be going ‘Green’ but the truth of the matter is that they
          burn more & more coal every year & try to hide it from the rest of the world.
          India is only just starting their industrial revolution.
          People are not going to give up their ‘toys’ & their motorised lifestyles to
          save the planet.
          Now we have electric robots to mow our lawns & to vacuum our houses
          while we grow fatter & fatter instead of burning off the calories ourselves.
          Maybe we need a World War 3 to wake everybody up to what is really
          going on & to do some necessary human culling.
          We are like hypnotised sheep, in my opinion.

          1. The methane cloud from China dwarfs that from other countries. On YouTube there are two short videos that show this. Just do a YouTube search “global atmospheric methane”.

  9. Our tomatoes went down hill when CDs launched. They didn’t sound as good as a decent turntable, but now everyone could have zero pops and clicks and you didn’t have to turn a record over and you could play them in your car. For many people it was a dream come true. And the age of the crappy tomatoes began. But because some people don’t like crappy tomatoes they continued to push for better digital and we are now starting to really see what the new kind of tomatoes can taste like, and it its very good. So here’s to the new digital farmers and the proliferation of excellent tomatoes.

  10. Does anyone remember when Bananas used to taste wonderful back in the 1960s, before all the good types went extinct from disease ? When an appearance on a Velvet Underground album even showed good artistic taste . . .

  11. Back in the 1920s, my Uncle Bob met a woman who made uber-fantastic pies. He suggested they team up and make a business of that–she’d bake the pies, he’d sell and deliver them. He took samples to local restaurants and diners, and many of them ordered. She baked up a batch, he delivered them, and those light, flaky crusts were just flakes when the pies arrived. So they experimented until they came up with pies that could stand up to delivery…and were no different from the pies their customers already sold. So ended that dream!

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