As I drove out our driveway this morning, I was glancing over at our garden. We had a few heavy storms blow through last night, so I was really looking to see how flooded it was. Then it dawned on me how many tomato plants we planted. My husband loves stewed tomatoes, but I also make tomato sauce, and catchup. I make a little salsa but not much, as we really aren’t salsa fans. I have faith they will produce well, but then there was the image of buckets of tomatoes sitting in my kitchen. I’ll be blessed to have that happen, but we can’t survive on just tomatoes.
I grew up outside of Philadelphia and canning really was something that never happened. Freezing was only done when Mom was entertaining, and she was cooking ahead. Mom shopped almost every day. We did have a garden in our back yard, but it was small. Mom’s meals were decided around what was ripe. Ratatouille was often the chosen dish. Mom and I did however love making bread. We did this about once a week. We continued this until we moved to Maryland. Tiffany on of my Labs ate a fresh loaf as it was cooling. I never hear a peep from her. We were only gone for about 5 minutes, and our house was an open concept, so it wasn’t like we weren’t there. Anyways after that bread making kind of took a back seat.
While living on the shore here in Maryland and started making local friends I started seeing more and more ball jars full of food preserved from the past year’s harvest. Oh, the Jams, and Jellies were the best. I had a close friend who loved canning and I learned a little from him. I started hunting and filling my freezer with proteins. I started cooking meals and freezing them for easy cooking later. Then I got married, and well my life and food changed. I went from having to fill one freezer to filling 3 (not including the one over the fridge). My mother-in-law would can, and or freeze everything she could. The year prior to her being diagnosed with cancer, she put up bushels and bushels of applesauce. I thought wow she was so tired but she kept going. Saying the good Lord provides, its not for us to ask why. That next year she was diagnosed with cancer. The odd thing is she had trouble swallowing pills. So jar after jar, we would put her pills in a spoon full of applesauce. She could handle them that way. She passed about 7 months after being diagnosed, and that tree split and fell later that year. I learned when the good Lord provides there are reasons.
Every year the one thing I try to put up is applesauce. One on my sons loves applesauce. It seems to always spill out on to his plate. Then I cook down the remaining juice and make apple jelly. This past year I had over 125 lbs. of apples, so I tried making apple pie filling. I think I need to work on that one, but it worked.
This year is different. There have been some food shortages, and the cost of food is just going up across the board. I’m not going to get into my opinion of that, but I find myself stocking up way earlier than ever. In the back of my head there is this nagging pull. I hear in my head, do you see that, Lord is providing, do something.
I feel like now it’s all going in jars. When my father-in-law passed last fall, there were lots of veggies and dip left over, so new last year was beef stew. This year, there was a mix up when I ordered chicken for my home delivery, so new this year is canned chicken, and chicken soup. I have faith that we will be ok going into winter and next year, but that nagging is constantly there. Are the tomatoes one way the Lord is providing? Usually, I have several plants just not make it. Last night’s rain I thought for sure was going to stress them.
I’m worried for the food shortages coming, I’m worried for the quality of food when it is available. Oh yeah, we make our own cheese and butter, and we raise beef and eggs from our laying hens for our farm store. We can hunt and have a garden. I can make bread, if need be, but will it be enough? I never thought of having to worry about food. Stores were always around the corner, and shelves always stocked. Fresh bagels, with lox and cream cheese, or fresh orange juice. My only memory of empty shelves prior to covid, was when the big freezers in stores went up. But we could go to another store if need be.
I may be the only one worried, but I see so many signs. However, I also see many small opportunities. I hope others are open to what is going on, and also take advantage of the small gifts presented.
So maybe we have too many tomato plants for a reason.
Stay local, buy local, and follow the journey from farm to table.