Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Grandpa's Delivery Route and Random Garden Pics

One of my favorite bloggers (Garden Now - Think Later . . . see link on right hand sidebar) wrote today about harvesting some of her heirloom tomatoes.

This brought back memories of my grandpa's garden back in Illinois when I was growing up. I don't remember his garden as being overly large, but he sure did get a lot of produce out of it.

About once a week during the growing season, he had a route he followed to each of his seven grown kids' houses to deliver whatever produce his garden offered up that week. (All of his children were married with families of their own, and living in the same town they grew up in. That doesn't happen much anymore, does it?)

Thinking back, I guess you could say each of the families had their own private CSA subscription, but didn't have to pay for it!

What I recall about that summer garden produce most was the huge, misshapen, wonderfully delicious heirloom tomatoes Grandpa gave us. These fruits were not grown for uniform size or sustainability in shipping but rather for good, old-fashioned flavor. They were meant to be ripened to perfection on the vine, picked, handled with care and eaten within a day or two.

I can remember a big plate of thickly sliced tomatoes at dinners and lunches of baloney, tomato, and mayonnaise sandwiches on white bread for days after one of Grandpa's deliveries.

Also, he often brought green onions (scallions). Mom would put a dozen or so of these on the table, and we would eat them with salt . . . and gusto! I always grow scallions in my garden and at least once a season for nostalgic reasons, I put a bunch of them on the table the way Mom used to. We each eat maybe one green onion . . . and decide they're a little too zingy to indulge in more. Were the scallions milder in flavor back in my childhood? I think they must have been.

So, thanks, Erin, for your post today featuring heirloom tomatoes. It brought back lots of good memories. And my grandpa would say to you, "You've done good, Girlie!"


Erin said...

awwww...you are so sweet! Thanks for the vote of confidence! I still remember my first heirloom tomato, sliced in wedges with salt sprinkled on top! I have been hooked ever since! This year I am growing Black Krim, Brandywine, and True Black Brandywine Heirlooms. I think the Brandywine is my favorite simply because it was also my "first"! I planted way too many this year, not taking into account my husband deploying this fall...so my neighbors will be inundated with them! I would pass them off to friends except I started a gardening group here and went and got some friends into gardening and gave away seedlings.... darn! Now I can't ding-dong-ditch my produce on their doorsteps since they can get me back, lol!

MaineCelt said...

What a lovely remembrance! Makes my mouth water... meanwhile, I've tried to follow in my mother's footsteps and plant a wide variety of heirloom tomatoes myself, so that they can be served up on a glass plate, arrayed in alternating tomato colours, interspersed with basil leaves and fresh mozzarella, drizzled with just a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and eaten with exclamations and abandon...but that probably won't happen with THIS year's sad little garden!

MaineCelt said...

P.S. glad you liked the sermon...it always feels so funny to post them on a "farmer" blog, but they're so integral to who I am as a farmer...so good to know others don't mind me presenting these two parts of my life together!

Mama JJ said...

For all the bad/cold weather you've had, your garden looks stunning. Good work!

Mama Pea said...

Erin - The thing about the heirloom tomatoes is that they have FLAVOR! So lacking in the varieties readily available (and easier to grow) today. Plus, of course, you can save the seeds for replanting. We must not lose these things!

Mama Pea said...

MaineCelt - Yes, I remember Grandpa's yellow and orange tomatoes, too. I've worked right through lunch today (I think my poor husband ate fresh raspberries -- such a hardship!) and could die for that plate of tomatoes, basil leaves and fresh mozzarella . . . oh, for lovely!

Regarding farming and preaching, you are following your bliss. There's nothing better. Perfect. The Ultimate. Amen.

Mama Pea said...

Mama JJ - This season has shown without a doubt why it's wise to diversify! Cold weather crops are doing well, those that need warmth are not. If I had planted all tomatoes and corn this year for market gardening, I'd be in deep doo-doo.

Thanks for your kind words. I do love to garden and take pride in it even when it's . . . uh, um, challenging!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Mama Pea,
Are all the photos in today's post from your gardens? Wow -- everything looks great!

Mama Pea said...

Hi, Ruthie - Yes, all the photos are of my garden. I concentrated on the stuff that looks good. Ha, ha!