Saturday, August 14, 2010

Things That Make My Locavore Heart Sing

It's tomato season here and at the Farmer's Market on Saturday there were dozens of choices from the usual hydroponic greenhouse tomatoes to field tomatoes to an amazing looking heirloom variety (of which I bought several).

Precious (my youngest) LOVES tomatoes. The other two, not so much, but Precious eats them like apples, which is both astounding and amusing to me. I like tomatoes - a lot! - but I've never eaten one with quite the relish she does.

My tomatoes are always late, because I don't start my seeds indoors. I don't really have any space indoors, and I haven't really had much in the way of season extension. I've half-heartedly tried a cold frame for fall season extension, but nothing for spring season extension. I start my tomatoes from seed in the garden, but only after I'm certain that we're past all potential for cold weather. Tomatoes can not tolerate cold, which means no tomatoes get planted here at the Wyvern Heath until after Memorial Day.

As such, I have a lot of lovely, healthy-looking plants with some gorgeous green tomatoes, but nothing ripe yet, and so, when we went to the Farmer's Market and EVERYONE had red tomatoes, I just had to ....

One of the vendors had these lovely gold cherry tomatoes. I bought a quart.

After dinner, as a snack, Precious asked if she could have some. I said yes - of course!

A little later, she comes up to me and says, "I ate all my tomatoes."

"All of them?" I inquire.

She shows me the empty container.

How could one be upset about her eating all of the tomatoes, especially when only she and I are the ones who will eat them? And even if everyone else liked them, they're tomatoes, locally grown at a farm with organic practices (not certified organic). Could I, seriously, get mad about her gorging on such a healthful snack?

This is such an amazing time of year, and we're so fortunate to have so many wonderful, small, local farmers in our area. There's one local farm that even grows "fall" strawberries, and he's saving us two quarts for next week.

And there's another of the farmers from whom I often buy tomatoes in bulk. He has a glut this year and asked me today if I'd be interested in buying a large amount. Ummm ... YES! As I said to him, there's just no such thing as too much tomato sauce, because it's so versatile. He laughed, probably just happy to have a happy customer ;).

I read an article today about this year's harvest here. Everything is several weeks early because of the really warm summer and early spring we had. I've noticed it, too. Most things are early, and their time with us has been so short. I wasn't quite ready for them, and when they came, I couldn't give them the attention they needed, and so for many of our seasonal berries, for instance, we don't, really, have as much as I would have liked.

But what's worse is that just this week, I've been noticing that many of the maples are already changing into their fall colors. The nights are already getting cooler. It could be that we'll have an early winter this year, and our growing days are numbered at this point.

I mention it, because the article talked specifically about apples. Usually apples are a September thing, but according to the article, many of the early apples, specifically MacIntosh varieties, are already ripening enough to be picked. They're ripening early, and it looks like it's going to be a lean crop.

Apples are *the* winter fruit for us. It's the only "fresh" fruit we have. Everything else is frozen or canned. Apples are also a favorite canned food, when made into applesauce. There are several large orchards that sell to the chain grocery stores where I live, and I can usually find Maine-grown apples all the way up into March and April. I get a feeling that won't be the case this year, and it's likely, by January, Maine apples will be hard to find.

It's still summer, at least for another few weeks, and I know that I'm going to continue stocking up as much as I can afford to buy. In fact, I think I'll head over to the farm stand tomorrow and pick up my annual bushel of corn :).


  1. We just came out of our oppressive heat the other day. It's been a rough summer that started two weeks early here, too. I've also been noticing the leaves turning (and dropping) from the trees.
    I'm afraid the apples will be affected. But we may not notice the full effect until we see what happens to next year's maple syrup crop. That's what I most worried about. (I gotta have the *real* stuff;)

  2. I've been noticing that many of the maples are already changing into their fall colors. The nights are already getting cooler.

    Yeesh, we still have at least a month of this brutal-hot weather to go before it even thinks about cooling off much. It's been a fairly typical August on Planet Georgia; it only seems worse because the last two Augusts were relatively mild. Oh well, we'll all be whining about the "cold" in three months.

    Still a lot of tomatoes to be found here, as well as corn, okra, and green beans. Now where did I put the gazpacho recipe?