In the sixties and seventies, life was very different, especially for a tomato-farming town in California. To help is Paul Gianelli, who tells us about all his memories from eleven to when he gets into his sixties.
It starts with him sitting next to his wife as she is dying. Then he takes you back to the past, to the first day he sees her in a poor neighbor.
His memories are of her as young girl, Mary, that he meets when she is sixteen. She is five years older than him, and he endures many years to become the young man that she might want. It takes a family tragedy and the death of someone very dear to him before she comes and stays in his life.
Throughout the story, memories of tomatoes flash up and intertwine with his memories of Mary and how his loves grows with each time she floats in and out of his life.