Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The End Of Tomatoes

When I visited Honey Brook Organic Farm on Sunday for our weekly share of veggies, it was the first time in months when tomatoes were not available. The volunteer working the farmstand let out a soft sigh and said, "Yep, that's the end of tomatoes..."

On my drive into the farm, the fields in which just two weeks ago I had been picking fat, penguin-shaped "sauce tomatoes" and egg-sized Roma varieties, and sweet, sweet cherry tomatoes in hues of yellow. orange and bright red, were all plowed over. My heart sank.

What had become a Saturday/Sunday ritual for me, chopping up the previous week's crop of bright red beauties, adding them to a large dutch oven of sizzling chopped garlic and olive oil, stirring and smelling, simmering and bubbling, salt and pepper, and then torn leaves of basil, and cooking down to a bright orange sauce, and replacing all of that with a new bounty of ripening fruit in wire baskets on my kitchen counter, was over. I do have a freezer full of plastic containers and freezer bags of summer sauce, but I am a guy who loves his life rituals, and I will miss this one.

Now the crop was fall lettuce (still the best on earth), cabbages, radishes, rutabagas and turnips, sweet potatoes and yams, cauliflower and Swiss chard, green peppers and arugula.

Yesterday came a solemn, matter-of-fact e-mail from the farm, detailing the last days of the season for farm share pick-up; Sunday will be the last day for us. There will a few days in the following week for gleaning of the fields, and then it will all be over for the year. Sigh.

I love the fall season, its colors and flavors, the crisp cold mornings and breezy afternoons, but I am always sad when the Honey Brook farm season end, and I am sad now. And I have way too many sweet potatoes, rutabagas and arugula.

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