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Ode to the Tomato

(post, Rachael Warrington)

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I wrote this for my own newsletter I send out on the back side of our school lunch menu.  I am the lunch lady and take feeding four students a day very seriously. Enjoy.

One the best things in the world is eating a tomato fresh picked from the garden while it is still warm from the sun. One way I prepare such a slice of heaven is to cut thick slices of it, and then eat it on homemade bread with a slice of real mozzarella and sprinkled with coarse salt and fresh black pepper.  Oh, and I slip in a leaf of fresh basil that I have just plucked from the kitchen garden.  This is a bit of heaven….but I have to wait until July for this luxury.  If you don’t like tomatoes or have never had the opportunity to taste one  picked fresh from the plant, you have missed one of God’s miracles.  And no, I am not exaggerating.

So with this picture in my mind’s eye, Kent and I are planning our garden this year.  And it is going to be a good sized plot.  We are growing everything from seed; tomatoes, peppers, squash, herbs, radishes, turnips, Swiss chard, beets, carrots, and leaf lettuce.  We plan to plant two successive crops of everything so that we have fresh veggies even past the end of the growing season.  We are also planting an early variety tomato so that by the Fourth of July we can do the Happy Dance. 

We are also planning to hit the Farmers’ Market on the west side of town on a regular basis.  Asparagus will be coming in hard and fast for a while, and boy do I love the stuff!  Grilled Romaine lettuce will also be on the menu (only I will soak the heads in salt water to remove the little green worms!  Aaaggghhh!)  I also love exploring other parts of our state to see what they have available.  So, there is a trip planned for the Winfield Farmers Market, since that is only 30 minutes away from us.  Someone there has grass fed beef for sale, so we shall see what we can make use of. 

Our goal in this adventure is to raise our own food, put it up for the season, and cut our food bill.  We also want to eat healthier and have more control over what we eat.  Also our kids will be involved with the planting, weeding, maintaining, picking and preparing our new food source.  My expectation for this is realistic.  I know there is a learning curve...but this is not our first garden.  However, it is our first big attempt since Ethan was a baby.  It’s almost time to get the sunscreen out, put on the knee pads, gloves, and bug spray; back yard be warned - we are coming!!