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A sacred summer ritual

For many years, I’ve wanted to get myself into a situation in which I could can tomatoes. If your situation permits the growing and canning of tomatoes, you’re all set. It’s a yardstick against which you can measure your lifestyle.

But it took so long! Even after I bought the land, it was seven more years. The steps, roughly, are:

  • 1. Buy your land
  • 2. Build your house
  • 3. Build a garden fence (maybe some areas could do without a fence)
  • 4. Rehabilitate and prepare your garden soil, organically
  • 5. Deal with the irrigation problem
  • 6. Grow enough tomatoes to produce at least one peck of surplus tomatoes that ripen together
  • If you fumble a step, you lose a year. For example, last year I did not have irrigation. Hot, dry weather torched the garden. This year, the irrigation system made a huge difference. And in the early years of the Acorn Abbey project, my hands were too full to get around to things like preparing the garden soil or building the garden fence.

    Why do we work so hard for tomatoes? I think it’s not just because they’re so good eat. I think it’s because tomatoes are sacred.

    One Comment

    1. dcs1964 wrote:

      Congratulations! The canned tomatoes look beautiful. That’s a dozen jars added to the dozen (beets and pickles) we toted down to the root cellar last week. And you’ve got another month of growing and canning to go. You’ll have an impressive amount of home-grown food to get you through the winter ahead.

      Think of it this way. Five dozen jars for the five months beginning Oct. 1 means three jars a week of home-grown food while everyone else eats produce shipped in from Mexico.

      I’d be interested in your thoughts — a separate post — about the sacred nature of tomatoes. It was interesting to see my mother’s reaction to the sack full of tomatoes that I brought down to Wilmington last week. Half were yours and half were from my friend Kenny. My mother was determined not to let a single tomato go to waste, so she made sure that we had some form of fresh tomato every day, even if it was just sliced with some salad dressing. One day, thick-sliced tomato sandwiches were the main event. Another day, we had sliced tomato with scrambled eggs for breakfast. At the end of the week, there were just two small tomatoes left, which she washed and wrapped in paper towels for my lunch box for the trip home. Not a single tomato went in the trash.


      Sunday, August 5, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

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