It seems like forever, but my tomatoes are finally bearing fruit. In fact, I finally see one that is turning red…-ish. Anyway, it might not be too long before I’ll be able to enjoy a few with our dinner. We used to eat them all the time. I mean…All the time. My grandfather used to have a huge garden and he would give all of his tomatoes away….basically all to us! My mother accepted everything, of coarse. We canned them, Turned them into tomato juice. Even ate them with every meal! When I say every mean, I mean Even snack time. We would eat tomato sandwiches, tomatoes with sugar, tomatoes with salt, Even tomatoes just sliced up. As a kid, I thought this was totally normal. Everyone ate tomatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, right? Of coarse, only in season. Whenever anything was in season, we were literally buried in what ever grandpa had growing. Pickles, beans, cucumbers, squash, strawberries, peppers, sweet corn, and, of coarse, tomatoes!
But after Grandpa died, and I went away from home, I realized that very few people ate those mountains of vegetables and fruits like we did. Don’t get me wrong, we were not thin and healthy. We were total CHUB BALLS trying to keep up with the never ending flow of plant materials. You see, Mother’s zealotry for never wasting food, forced us to consume everything before it could rot. She thought that It was an insult to grandpa if we let one tomato over-ripen beyond edibility . Those early informative years shaped my life to question the vegan lifestyle. And, when I was finally allowed to eat things OTHER than the mountains of produce, my diet quickly changed gears.
But now, call it nostalgia, I sometimes miss some of that fresh produce that is not found in your typical grocery store. Granted, I only want it sometimes, and in REASONABLE amounts, but I still crave It from time to time. Farmers markets are actually kid of rare here. And sometimes, if you find one open on a Thursday after 5 pm, they usually have a limited selection or are missing the item you had in mind. Not to mention everything is seasonal! With that in mind I set out this year to grow my own tomatoes.
I started with just seeds. Remember my post back in the spring? I grew them inside with seeds I got for free. The past has taught me that 6 plants will produce more tomatoes than a family of 4( under REASONABLE circumstances) can possibly eat for that season. When Grandpa died, Mom and Dad tried growing their own tomatoes and ended up flooding out kitchen with red fruit once again. Of coarse, Eric and I were away in college at the time and could not “help” them eat them all.
Anyway, I was proud when my little plants finally popped up. I transplanted them several times and wondered if I had killed them. You see, I’m not really a gardener. In fact, I rather hate it. It’s dirty, hot and sticky. There are bugs that bit, sting and creepy crawl. I’m impressed anyone likes doing that stuff.
However, I recently got some compliments from the neighbor on the size of the plants. This Iowa weather seems to welcome the tomato….if they get enough water. So finally! I FINALLY have a tomato that is almost ready to be harvested. It has taken way too long, and now I remember the genius of CAPITOLISM! Fresh fruits and vegetables everyday in and out of season. If you have to grow them yourself. you will first have a famine waiting for the stuff to grow…then an overwhelming tidal wave of tomatoes! Which, judging from the small tomatoes and buds on the plants, I’m in for.
It’s ok, I’m not my Mom ( thankfully!) and I will have no problem giving away or leaving tomatoes to go to seed next year. I will not try to harness every drop of the sun’s energy to MAXIMIZE the tomato output like my Grandfather. I will take what I can and leave what ever else to nature. However, we are preparing to have those tomato snacks of yester year. Cheryl already has a few ideas ready for experimentation. I’ll have to see what we can do with all of these things once the storm hits and we are drowning in ripened red fruit. Perhaps we can turn them into some alternative fuel source and save money at the pump! Iowa is famous for that kind of Stuff! We shall see.