I finally had a few moments to look through the pictures from Saturday’s pick-your-own at Bartlett’s. It was overcast and spitting rain drops off and on all day, but we couldn’t have had a better time.
(And the gray weather was the perfect excuse for pulling out an adorable pair of overalls…I love itty-bitty, pink overalls!)
This year the tomatoes were far from the road, which meant hay rides to the field and back. I wasn’t sure how Nora would feel about climbing aboard a strange and noisy contraption. She’s often slow to approach new situations, but in this instance there was no fear. Nora was thrilled to go for a “tractor ride” and to ride past the different crops on the way out to the tomato fields. We “oohed” and “awed” at neat rows of broccoli, summer squash, corn, and pumpkins on our way to out to more beautiful tomato plants than one can imagine. As soon as we found our way into a good looking row, Nora set to work… eating. Of course, she picked tomato after tomato, and a few even made it into the bags, but mostly she gorged herself on her favorite vegetable. Between all of the berry and vegetable picking we’re doing and gardening for our CSA with Hummock Pond Farm, Nora is becoming quite the little farmer. She loves to dig around in the dirt, to pull weeds, and most of all to harvest. I’m so glad that we’ve discovered this part of Nantucket. Last summer felt pretty barren without the local foods, but now I know I just wasn’t looking in the right places.
By the time we were done, the wagon was loaded to the brim and overflowing. She tried her best to pull it, but even with her often surprising strength couldn’t manage the 88 lbs of vegetables, so I filled up her bucket and she happily trotted back for another tractor ride toward home.As I’ve mentioned, though the work was done for Nora, picking the tomatoes was only the beginning for me. It took about nine hours over two days (six the first day, three the second) but I managed to put up nearly all that we picked.
Eighty-eight pounds of tomatoes yielded me 41.5 quarts crushed tomatoes: 6 quarts orange heirloom, 9 quarts yellow, 9 quarts and 7 pints roma, and 14 quarts field tomatoes. I left a few out for eating this week — most especially for making a tomato pie for tonight’s dinner (if you haven’t had one of these you must make one now!!) — and we have a giant bowl of cherry and grape tomatoes just for munching. I think we’ll be set for a while.
I really enjoy the canning. It’s work that easily feels like me-time and I feel so accomplished when I’m done and have rows of beautiful jars to stare at. The only other thing I’ve made this year is strawberry jam, but over the next month I’m planning on preserving peaches and plums, and making peach, plum and grape jams, as well as apples three ways: butter, sauce, and spiced rings. I always process and freeze a couple pumpkins, too, so I don’t have to buy the canned version for fall/winter pies and baked goods. I was thinking my might add a post or two about how to preserve; maybe more with step by step recipes if there’s interest. Would anyone be interested in reading that?