Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Counting your chickens before they hatch

Or despair.

Or hope?

I proudly weighed all of my tomatoes as I picked them, totalling about 150 pounds of green tomatoes. More than I've ever harvested.

Maybe even more than I could use, although that's never happened before. We eat tomatoes in lots of things. Pasta sauces, chili, tacos, salsa, soup, stew. I've made ketchup (mind you, that was by accident. Who knew that the Aussies called ketchup "tomato sauce"?) and chutneys galore. We eat at least one quart each week through the winter, and sliced fresh on sandwiches and in salads through the fall.

150 pounds. Almost all with late-harvest blight.

They looked fabulous when we picked them only a week or so ago. Tons of Roma and a box or two of beefsteak. I planned to bring some to my in-laws who accidently only planted romas. For the first time, my produce was going to return to the farm instead of travelling to my pantry in the city. It felt good to be able to share with my generous family.

And now I'm thinking, maybe not.

The day before I travelled, the blight started to reveal itself. It made me sick to see. It still does as it continues to show up in the boxes. I have to sort them again tomorrow and maybe make some green-tomato recipes out of what is salvagable.

I know that the supermarket is only walking distance away and I can buy tomatoes, canned or fresh, in juice or paste or ketchup. We won't starve. But it still makes me think of Ireland so long ago when they were hit with the same blight, wiping out all their potatoes. Did they pick some potatoes thinking all looked well? Did they celebrate their harvest with a feast? Did they store away their produce in cold cellars, only to look at them the next week and see them all bruised and rotting?

I can't really imagine what it would feel like to have your main staple rot away. I can't stop thinking of my own wasted crop even knowing that I've got other things to eat this winter.

I don't particularly like green tomatoes, but I've got to try. Tomorrow it will be green tomato pasta sauce. If it's good, I'll borrow a pressure canner and put some away. All other methods of saving them seem risky to me. The opinions vary so much that I'll play it fairly safe.


1 comment:

Tamara Jansen said...

Oh, what a SHAME! How does one avoid this blight if you can't even see that it's present in the tomatoe? Talk about disappointing but I know you'll make lemonaid out of this bag of lemons :)