Humans in Central and South America had been eating tomatoes since at least 500 B.C., but it took the Spaniards to spread this versatile vegetable to Asia, through the Philippines and to Europe.
A member of the deadly nightshade family of plants, rumors persisted for years in Europe that tomatoes were poisonous. And for some time the plants were grown as nothing more than ornamentation or conversation pieces. Of course, there is always some adventurous soul who will try anything. And once Europeans learned that it was the leaves and not the fruit that was poisonous, they couldn't get enough of this strange, shiny import from the Americas.
This year I have about a dozen small containers planted with Tiny Tom, Tumbling Tom and Peardrop varieties. And as you can see from the photo above, the plants have given an abundant harvest.