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Missing my Tomato garden in January  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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Just missing fresh heirloom tomatoes from my garlic, basil, oregano and tomato planter this summer.
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Early summer
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First harvest
 
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Location: Northern BC Zone 3
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I can understand.  Nothing like fresh  tomatoes.

 
gardener
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I visited the capitol city last week, and helped prepare food for a party. Tomatoes were one of the items on the menu. I sliced them for the guests. While slicing, I tasted one of them. BLECK!!! I would not serve something that bland and tasteless on my farm. I'm not at all impressed that the big city has tomatoes in the winter, when those tomatoes are essentially inedible. It's not the first time that I have visited the capitol, and wondered how anyone can live on the kinds of foods they serve there. I fantasize about writing a dystopian horror story about food in the city.

 
garden master
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Why not get some plastic sheeting and make a small High Tunnel for your herbs and tomatoes for the winter?
You would be surprised at how long a tomato vine will continue to give you tasty fruits as long as you can keep the temps in the range they can endure.

Redhawk
 
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Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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Joseph I am often amazed at the food-shaped objects sold for high prices in urban produce departments and, increasingly, the small-town supermarkets that try to ape them.

A change of ownership has brought new chain-store management to the only nearby old-fashioned not-discount supermarket in my vicinity; their produce department now stocks a full spectrum of square unripe flavorless winter produce from California, Florida, Mexico, New Zealand, and South America, at prices most locals can’t afford.  However they are more aggressive about bagging it and and discounting it when it finally turns brown and wrinkled (and ripe!); the old crew just threw it all away.

Example: They got in a display of fuju persimmons before Thankgiving from California, hard as a rock and priced at three bucks a piece.  After three straight years of bad performance of the wild persimmon crop here, I am persimmon-hungry; but I would not have eaten these when they came in if they were free.

Day before yesterday I found them bagged, about eight to a bag, in three  $.79 bags in the clearance bin. After months on display they look like hell, all spots and wrinkles; but upon investigation at home, precisely ONE FRUIT was rotten.  Of the rest, about a third were fully soft, ripe, and delicious; the others still need a liitle time alone in a brown paper sack.

My bottom line: nobody in this chain of commerce knows what this food is, how to treat it, what makes it good, or when to eat it.  You’ve got to wonder why it appeared there at all.
 
gardener
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We have an awesome amount of choice here, probably because of a large affluent population. I pop into the organic store regularly, and grab stuff that is marked to Half Price.

One thing that I see in regular stores, all the time , is stuff marked as fresh, because it has never been frozen. Instead, it was picked quite a while ago, followed by a trip to a warehouse, then a truck, and eventually to me, unless there was another warehouse involved. The ones that are flash frozen the day they're picked, are actually much more fresh, and the price is better. Once I get this stuff home, I'm not under pressure to utilize it immediately.

I have heard feeble arguments against storing up your own food in a freezer, because it won't be fresh, and the freezer uses electricity. The process of producing and bringing that stuff from California, consumes much more energy. Freezers heat the home a little. It's a ridiculous contention but one that I've heard several times. Of course the other argument in favor of shit from California, is freshness. We've already gone over that.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Produce you can buy in the supermarket has so many different types of poisons applied to it while it is growing and once picked, We don't buy them at all.
I have some friends that are currently doing research to find out if these "foods" might be part of the increase in cancer cases and surge of autism that are becoming more and more rampant in the US and other "developed" countries.

My own gut feeling is that the way foods are grown, picked so unripe and shipped long distances is a large part of the current health crisis in the US. so I have been working hard to get our farm to be able to produce all the foods we eat, all year long.

Redhawk
 
pollinator
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Dale Hodgins wrote:I have heard feeble arguments against storing up your own food in a freezer, because it won't be fresh, and the freezer uses electricity.



Admittedly I haven't given it a huge amount of thought, but here's the observation.  If we were in a warmer annual climate, I would probably use a greenhouse type situation to extend the season and try to keep tomatoes going, so much do we like fresh toms.  But with winters that can stay pretty steadily between 30 F and -10 F, the chest freezers that are busting with frozen kale, corn, tomatoes, chard, and other items forgotten, provide a pretty good substitute.  Clearly, with the amount of frozen mass within those freezers, they don't run (or not much) in the middle of winter even when plugged in (they are in an unheated/uninsulated garage....compressors in all of them still running after 20+ years).  It is a concern in mid-summer when we have not used up the produce and all 3 are still running.  Yes, we could consolidate in summer,....but one is for dog meat, one is for our own meat, and the largest is for veggies.  We just don't seem to get around to shutting any of them off during mid-summer.  Between some canning, some drying/dehydrating, and the chest freezers, we are not needing anything even though the desire for a fresh item does come knocking time to time.  But right now, with several days of sub-zero weather behind us, there is soup on the stove with pretty much everything (onions, squash, potatoes, tomatoes, chard, garlic, peppers) but the salt having been produced here and stored one way or another.  So in the grand scheme of things, I agree that chest freezers are pretty good options, or at least one good leg of a storage regime that also includes canning and drying.
 
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Location: New Hampshire
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:Why not get some plastic sheeting and make a small High Tunnel for your herbs and tomatoes for the winter?
You would be surprised at how long a tomato vine will continue to give you tasty fruits as long as you can keep the temps in the range they can endure.

Redhawk



A small high tunnel is not enough protection for tomatoes in Ontario, Canada  nor New Hampshire where I live.  To get tomatoes in over the winter her you need a heated greenhouse and supplemental lighting.  Not only do we have cold wet winters but lots of cloudy days. 
 
Posts: 298
Location: SW PA USA zone 6a altitude 1188ft
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I'm dreaming of walking out to my garden and picking a 6 inch diameter beefsteak tomato, taking it back to the house and frying up some bacon. Slicing that tomato into slices about yey thick, maybe 1/4 inch or thicker and biting into that tasty sammich.

The truth is that the snow is almost thick enough to have to shovel and I pulled the plants 6 weeks or more ago.
 
Posts: 159
Location: Mason Cty, WA
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Ferment all those that don't ripen! Lacto-fermented green tomatoes are one of the best ferments! Cut to 1" thick pieces, any shape, 3 tsp of kosher salt (not sea, it has microplastics) per pound dissolved in water, keep at 70° for a week, keeps four months in fridge.

Many years ours don't ripen, this way there's no loss.
 
John Weiland
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Fredy Perlman wrote:
Many years ours don't ripen, this way there's no loss.



That sounds like a great way to recover those unripened tomatoes, Fredy!  Another item that was just opened this morning was one of several jars of green tomato-red pepper preserves....great on toast and English muffins.
 
Fredy Perlman
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Yumm! John, now I don't care if no tomatoes ripen! (Which is fine, last year none of two varieties did, without becoming mealy..)
 
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