Thursday, May 27, 2010

I'm Cheating and I Don't Care Who Knows It

In two weeks my mother is coming to visit for a month.  I've been daydreaming about us having fresh tomatoes, fresh, homemade mozzarella cheese, homemade bread, fresh basil clipped off the plant.  Bruschetta, caprese salad, pesto.  There's one problem with my dreams.  The chances of my tomato plants that I nurtured from seed making actual tomatoes while my mother is still here are vanishingly close to zero.

So I'm going to cheat.  Actually, I've already cheated. I've been keeping an eye open for tomato plants that are farther along than the ones I birthed, and found some today at my almost-daily trip to a home improvement store.  This little guy has blossoms, and already has a small fruit making his way into the world.  Now he's first in my small pantheon of tomato makers.

I wouldn't be surprised if they've done unsustainable stuff to get this little guy pushing his energy into fruit instead of roots.  Maybe they've put huge numbers of little planties into a room and force-fed them so they'll grow, same as they do to sheep babies and turkey babies - to feed our voracious appetite for more, bigger stuff ... earlier.  It felt like there was a parallel to animals, and that the virtuous person wouldn't be trying to cheat nature.  But I got one of these babies anyway. 

When (not if) this guy makes some big red ones, I'm going to pluck one of them, and while it's still warm from the sun, I'm going to slice it and put it on a piece of white bread with some mayo.  If it tastes good, I'll congratulate myself for being brilliant.  Selfish, but brilliant.  If it tastes like warm cardboard on white bread, I'll say I deserved it for trying to cheat.  Or maybe I'll feed it to mom first like any good hostess (and daughter) would do, and let her be the judge.

A high school friend is coming to visit for part of next weekend (Linda, who writes the blog Multilocus) and I'm pretty psyched to see her and catch up face to face.  I don't think there's any way to have ripe tomatoes by then though!


  1. Next year I'll show you the nursery in VT, close to the NY border, that the local general store told me about when I asked where the closest nursery is. You have to know it is there, no signs until a cardboard sign when you are off the highway.

    She has massive greenhouses, super hot, and sells all her vegetable six packs for $2 and all one packs for $1.

    So I bought 27 beautiful tomato plants for $11, buying three individuals and going back for 4 six packs.

    I see no reason now to start my own seeds in my cold drafty house when I can get her prices for a bigger healthy plant. I'm planting them in VT, and the season is shorter at the other end.

    Same with broccoli, eggplant, zucchini and peppers.

    Her goal every year is to sell out by the end of May.

  2. Our local farmer's market has seedlings *and* takes food stamps (which can be used to buy food producing plants!), so I've started buying seedling there. I'm only starting seedlings for what I can't find locally. Paste tomatoes, for example - I can't seem to find seedlings for those. At least not where I can use food stamps for them. And a lot of esoteric Japanese food ingredients, because I like Japanese food.

    Good luck with the tomatoes!

  3. Mmm, I love caprese salad. Wish I lived closer to so I could pop in.

  4. ... must buy more basil.... There's no such thing as enough basil!

  5. Oh yaa, silly me, I forgot -- I picked up plenty of basil too from the nursery. If the seeds I planted ever become plants, I will have basil all year.

  6. I have been 'planting' for 3 days, not 'cuz I have so much, because I can't decide. Bought more creeping things and I have to decide where they have room to crawl! and not be mowed..I only got 1 pumpkin seed to grow..I'll be poking in my pots for the others and see if they are still hiding. I think my Tomatoes will be slower than the greenhouse ones I bought, but I'm trying!!

  7. p.s. hope you and Linda have a great time!