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Well, since it was raining and I was determined to get out and play with my new camera we decided to head out to Colasanti’s.

It was close to lunchtime so we drove to Leamington first to have lunch. We stopped at a diner right near the dock for the ferry to Pelee Island. It was the type of mom & pop diner I love and I said “F-the diet” and had the pastrami special. I took a couple of pics from the dock but was afraid to get my camera wet so just hopped out of the car for a quick click or two.

We then drove to Ruthven and Colasanti’s Tropical Garden. Colasanti’s is a landmark in these parts where generations have enjoyed weekend outings and school field trips. The best way to describe Colasanti’s is that it’s a giant working greenhouse where they have set up themed sections open to the public.

They have a restaurant, Christmas shop, sweets shop, mini-golf course, kiddie rides, arcade, petting zoo and of course, all kinds of plants and flowers. It’s a great place to take your kids or a warm place in the winter months to wander around looking at the plants and garden accessories. We spent a couple hours there then headed home via Kingsville.

One of the interesting things about this area is that there are so many greenhouses. The greenhouses here grow everything from flowers to tomatoes. Leamington is home to the Heinz ketchup factory and is known as Canada’s Tomato Capital. As I drive around I see fields and fields of tomatoes all destined for Heinz.

Funny thing is that it’s hard to find a field tomato to eat. Almost all of the roadside stands sell greenhouse tomatoes not field tomatoes and to me, they just don’t taste the same. Greenhouse tomatoes are grown for their looks. I heard a greenhouse owner’s interview on the CBC last year and he said that consumers want perfectly round, very red tomatoes. I suppose they have more control over the tomatoes’ looks in a controlled environment like a greenhouse.

Field tomatoes can be asymmetrical and have brown blemishes. Not pretty but very tasty. In my opinion there is nothing like a thick slice of a big, fat beefsteak tomato in a sandwich with some fresh basil, a little mayo (or aioli), fresh ground pepper and a dash of ground smoked sea salt. Yummy!

Ok, so here’s a slideshow of today’s photos. Enjoy.