What Do I Know?
In somewhat of a delayed response, since I finished the task last Tuesday, I was planting tomato plants all night long in my sleep. Considering my total in the ground is 183 at this point in time, and that I have had to draw a map to keep them all straight, I suppose this is not surprising.
|There are 126 tomato plants in this orchard.|
I did not end up with as many of the Heinz plants for catsup as I had wanted, but it was a brutal spring for germination of hot-weather crops, such as tomatoes and peppers. We just got too much rain and not enough sunlight.
As it is, I have 57 in the ground with a few small ones still in the greenhouse. I also have planted 57 of the Ace tomatoes, with another 20 or so in the greenhouse, because I want to process vast quantities of halved/quartered cold-pack tomatoes. The Ace tomatoes are perfectly round and easy to peel, unlike her cousin the beefsteak, which features crags and crevices galore, making blanching and peeling them more challenging.
|Most of these are Aces.|
Ace tomatoes are easy to put up and we have a pressure cooker that allows us to stack quarts on top of quarts; I think we can do 36 at a time. What I envision is keeping that pressure cooker going at double-time for about a month or so there in September/October.
In addition to cold-pack tomatoes, we will be doing catsup, marinara sauce, pizza sauce, paste and we will also be drying tomatoes. I planted 28 cherry tomatoes because Gluten-Free Mama wants to be able to supply local businesses with as many as demand requires. One of the varieties I planted is a rainbow assortment, that GF Mama guarantees will dazzle me.
Were it not for additional help from the ranks, I would never take on such a monumental task, but I know there are multiple extra hands which will be able to pitch in and make it happen. Specifically, harvesting is what we are targeting. For GF Mama and myself, now in our sixties, harvesting is the one thing that we can’t do very effectively.
Working at the counter alone, processing the fruit, can create havoc with my back, not to mention bending over to ground level to harvest. The Heinz plants will not grow tall and the fruit will be clustered at knee level and below. I know it sounds glamorous and all, and that folks line up in this country to do this type of work, but I will pass, thank you.
We are anticipating the arrival of our nephew, Jason, son of GF Mama’s brother, Joe. Jason and HappyDay Farms have been in communication for some time now, orchestrating the shift from one career to another. Jason has made it clear that he is interested in learning some basic components of self-sufficiency, something we strive for here on-farm.
We’re not there yet, but we are stoked to have made the strides we have, in providing organic produce and cannabis for our community. No two days are alike, what with balancing farming with regulation. Most days are a combination of the two-for me, at least.
|Foundation and skirting|
I have done some supplementary foundation work for both my workshop and Lito’s cabin, and I have done the skirting on both. The additional sheer strength is to satisfy the county building department, which will be ensuring that everything has been done according to code. I have also built a small structure to house our generator, which we use to supplement our batteries when there is no sun.
I have gotten a handle on the weed-eating, though the rain that is now falling, as welcome as it is, will extend the weed-eating season by a couple of weeks. These are all hats that I wear on-farm, and I enjoy the variety immensely. I determine what it is that has priority status, and I attack it.
The irony of this summer is that I will spend far more time with tomatoes than cannabis, a reversal from the past few summers, certainly. It’s a good thing we have a root cellar for storage of processed goods-we’re going to fill that baby up.
As far as catsup for sale, which was my original goal, it’s still up in the air. The bottom line is that you will either hear a whole lot about it, or not a peep. Personally, with sixty Heinz plants, I’d put my money on yes, but what do I know?