OPINION Several years ago I wrote a piece on Geraldton smooth skins. To put the record straight, it was not an article on the marvellous complexions or wonderful appearances of the good citizens of our sunny and windswept city. It was a story on tomatoes. For those in the know, in the heyday of Geraldton’s reign as one of the great production centres of tomatoes, the local variety was often referred to as a smooth skin. In those times, our tomatoes found fame and fortune internationally and interstate. On my first visit to Champion Bay some 40 years ago, I went looking for the said smooth skins among the various tomato stalls dotted around town. Honestly, I didn’t really know what I was looking for, they all looked smooth to me. Incredible as it seems now, we once had a reputation for that delicious red fruit. Friends from Perth would say “bring some tomatoes the next time you’re down”. And that being said, I’ve always thought it a pity we haven’t in some way exploited our ability to grow some of the finest tomatoes in the world. In my opinion we have the capacity to rival the best when it comes to tomatoes. And that brings me to a recent visit to the supermarket. Under instructions to buy a bottle of tomato paste, so as to make a pasta of some sort, I looked at the shelves of well-known brands that all suggested they were proudly Australian. I shouldn’t have been surprised, but what really shocked me was that there wasn’t one brand that had 100 per cent Australian tomato content. Some had as little as 10 per cent. Others 40, others 60 per cent, but nothing beyond. And none of the companies which owned the labels on these bottles of tomato pasta or spaghetti sauce was in Western Australia. I’m sure there are talented folks out there who are making their own pasta sauce from local tomatoes, probably creating a far superior product to anything to be found in a shop. Isn’t it a vast pity that local enterprise isn’t able to do this on a commercial scale? A sad indictment really, when you consider our near-perfect environment for tomato production and the great opportunities that a local manufacturing industry would have created. And the label would have read “Made from 100 per cent Australian tomatoes”.