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Love Apples

Mother Nature has given us many more varieties of foods than we will ever be able to hunt down in a single store. Sometimes a local store will sell food grown locally. However, in the day of major worldwide food magnets selling their products uniformly in their chain stores it becomes unusual to find that locally grown food. Unless you take a trip to the farmers market, what you find in the local store is often selected for its ability to be shipped hundreds or thousands of miles without being damaged.

One way around this dilemma is to grow your own food. Living in California is an advantage to someone who might suddenly get the urge to grow something, because seasons don’t really matter so much. Planting in February or June might yield equally good results when it comes to plants that take 60 to 90 days to mature. Obviously the February plants would seem to yield for a much longer time, but then again they might not.

Growing a family garden and getting the most efficient use of your farm are two different things. I have watched the farmers in the area get three distinct growing seasons of crops from their fields, but I’d be happy to get a few nice extras that I could add to my salad from time to time. I’m in it for the diversity of flavor, not the money.

Well, since we bought our house nine years ago and today we have tried to grow several different things. We grew flowers and peppers and eggplant and fruit and tomatoes. Our usual ritual was to pick a random Saturday sometime in the spring, go to a local store and buy some random plants. Then on Sunday, or maybe the next weekend we decide to plant the plants and we do our best to remember to water them. Sometimes they live and sometimes they die. When they survive they produce some fruit or vegetables and if we remember to harvest them we have a few meals with a few extras.

This year our ritual was altered. And, perhaps this new ritual will last into the future generations. Instead of travelling down the street to the local nursery my wife traveled out to “Love Apple Farm.” First of all, a love apple, if you didn’t know, is another name for a tomato. And, “Love Apple Farm” specializes in heirloom tomatoes. Heirloom tomatoes are varieties of tomatoes that have survived time, despite the mechanized agriculture of the last half-century that has driven many of the varieties of tomatoes that were once common into obscurity. The truth is that if people don’t know what they are missing, then they just don’t miss it.

Well, my wife brought back 12 heirloom tomato plants. We were all excited by what these plants might yield. We cared for the plants by watering and fertilizing them. We carefully staked them with a large fence that we bought. They grew up and over the fence and they have begun to yield more tomatoes than we had ever had. Perhaps this year we have had better weather than previous years. In the past the hot summer would just dry out the soil so much that missing two days of watering in a row would cause the tomatoes to wither. Missing four days of watering could result in a dead plant. This year the weather has been mild and the soil has been holding onto the moister.

In the act of transferring the plants from pot to pot then to garden we lost or misplaced the labeling of these unusual tomatoes. But I’ll try to describe what we have. We have some small tomatoes, about 2 inch diameter, with greenish tops and red. We have two types of cherry tomatoes, one yellow and one bright red. We have pink heart shaped tomatoes. We have bright red Roma shaped tomatoes. We have huge yellow tomatoes with dark red steaks throughout the inside of the tomato. We have large pinkish red tomatoes. And, we have large tomatoes with dark green tops on them. The texture and the taste of the tomatoes vary as well. Some are extremely sweet while others are more acidic. Some have thick hard meat and others are soft and mushy.

We only sampled 12 of the over 100 tomato varieties available at Love Apple Farms. The people at the farm tell us to save the seeds and replant them again next year. Chances are that there may be some cross pollination and we may end up with garbage, or something new and unusual. The point is that we will certainly add that touch of variety to our summertime meals. We are eating food grown locally, and we are excited about it.


Love Apple Farms

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Don’t forget what Stephen Colbert said, “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Reflection


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