Living large in the land of tomatoes

So many things to give thanks for, but today we will be thankful for our tomatoes.

As summer fades into memory, it’s time to take stock of what’s around us.

This past Saturday, I tried to make a dent in the abundance of tomatoes from my garden by my first ever attempt at canning.

We had run out of storage space. There were tomatoes in the vegetable crispers, tomatoes in bowls, tomatoes in bags, tomatoes in the microwave and more tomatoes on the counter. I didn’t mention the bag of green tomatoes on the deck.

I’ve never eaten so many raw tomatoes in my life! And let me tell you, they were – and are – absolutely delicious! I could possibly live on tomatoes, the vegetable (well, fruit actually) equivalent of turkey in terms of versatility.

It is a blessing that we can grow so much food here. Besides tomatoes, my hot peppers (jalepeno, cayenne and halapeno), carrots, green beans, black beans and turnips provided an awesome amount of food for my family and neighbours.

Just in the news this week was the warning that an extended drought (30 months) in California will result in increased vegetable costs next Spring – especially lettuce and broccoli. I’m going to miss my broccoli, because I can’t get it to grow worth the time and effort I put into it, but I was going to give lettuce a try next year.

I know there are places on this earth where foodcrops won’t grow. I know there are plenty of kids growing up in the middle of huge cities who have never tasted a tomato fresh from the soil.

Complain all you want about the lack of this and that in our small towns, about the bears and marmots, dogs running loose, the occasional funky smell in the air and lack of cell service now and then, but we really do have it where it counts.

I am forever thankful that I see people I know everywhere around town. I am thankful that I have my own cozy little mortgage-free house with room in my yard to grow food. I am thankful for my Tool Man and my Rusty and Ginger. I am thankful that I live in this part of British Columbia, where the air is fresh, the sky is usually blue, and the beauty all around us never ceases to fill me with inspiration and awe.

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal

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