Monday, May 28, 2012

Our Little Tomato Story, Part 1

Is anyone else disgusted with the way tomatoes taste these days? I often say that kids these days don't even know what a tomato is suppose to taste I wrong?

If there is one thing that Maurice hates it is least the weeding part...he thoroughly enjoys eating the fruits of our labors however!

So here is a  little story about our quest for a decent tomato....

As I mentioned Maurice hates gardening but he does love a good tomato, so one year he bought a packet of seeds and started growing some. He took such good care of them..he was sooo proud! When they got big enough to plant outside he dug out a spade and went to work digging up the grass for our little garden plot. Yes, all by tiller needed! It was a lot of work...but he really loves tomatoes!! We also planted a few bell peppers and most likely some chilies (I can't remember that far back). I remember the peppers because this is when I fell in love with bell peppers...I couldn't get enough of them.

Anyway, the tomatoes plants were getting some beautiful fruits on them, but we started having issues with bugs. I mentioned our problem with these pesky little creatures that were wreaking havoc with Maurice's pride and joy to my mother one day. She had a solution....spray them with soapy water and they will go away! I hung up the phone and I was all excited to take my mom's advice and save the day while Maurice was at work! So, I searched for a spray bottle...loaded it up with soapy water and skipped out to the back yard and doused Maurice's tomato plants with the soapy solution! I mean I gave them a good soaking! Impressed with myself, I went back into the house and waiting for him to get home from work so I could tell him the exciting news! Problem solved!!

A few hours later, he comes home and heads straight to the back yard. I must not have heard him pull up because all I remember is him coming in the house screaming at me "What did you do to my tomato plants?"
Puzzled, I told him what my mom told me to do and then asked why. He drags me out to the back yard and said "look"! OMG....THEY WERE ALL DEAD!! In a few hours I had managed to kill the plants that he had been babying for months! Obviously, I got my mom on the phone and was like "wth did you just make me do? Do you hate me or something?" Well, this happened to be about the time that Antibacterial soap was coming into popularity. And since we are always on the cutting edge of new fangled products, of course I had some. And of course my mom hadn't considered this! Lesson learned!! Needless to say, after I got an earful I was forbidden to ever touch Maurice's tomato plants ever again!!

Over the next several years we had minimal success with tomatoes! Blight seems to a big issue in this neck of the woods!
An example of what tomato blight looks like

Stay tuned for the rest of the story....I have some tomato plants to take care of!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What is a Locavore?

Hey there again, it's been a while eh? Spring is probably not the best time to start this blog thing....ugh, who am I kidding? The season is not the reason! It's mostly my inability to make a decision on a topic for a post...even as I am typing this I have no idea what this post is going to be about. That is the introvert in me!!

Okay.....Got it!

How many have you heard the term Locavore? I believe one of the first times I seen this term was in Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, which I am sure many of you have read (it was out several years before I got around to it). This book really lived up to the hype!

So, this morning while strolling through my Facebook news feed (ya know, to find out everything I missed while I was sleeping) I noticed one of my favorite sites Fresh Eggs Daily, had a post on finding local egg sellers.

 Hey, I sell eggs!! So I clicked on the link for Local Hens to see if any of the other local egg people are listed! Apparently not.....nearest local egg seller is 156 miles away, and the next nearest is 326 miles away. SWEET! Looks I got this market cornered!!

It was on this website that I seen a good definition of Locavore (for those of you who have been seeing the term around more often lately and not taken the time to actually see what it means)....

Locavore: a person whose diet consists principally of locally grown or produced food.

This reminded me that a few weeks ago while listening to The Splendid Table podcast or maybe it was You Bet Your Garden (I can't remember which); an app was mentioned that I wanted to check out. I don't remember which app it was, but I am sure I downloaded it; and then I seen another app, and then another and then see where this goes. Smartphones are great aren't they?

One of those gazillion apps I downloaded that day was Locavore. Which was surely destined to never be looked at again. Until today! Which isn't entirely true....I briefly looked at once. The app itself is pretty cool (which is why I downloaded it..duh). You can share pictures, there is a category for foraging and a recipe category. The best part (in my opinion) was the "local" have local sellers, local foods that are in season or coming into season soon, and local locavores.

Hmmmm....I don't know about the accuracy of foods that are in season or coming into season! It says that dandelions are coming into season in 2 weeks....that is yard has been yellow for at least 2 weeks already. BUT, it has been an unseasonably warm I will forgive them!

Here's the reason I only looked at it briefly....the nearest locavore is... wow...only 36.47 miles away, not bad! After that 89.94 then up to 120 miles, and it just keeps on going up from there. I am sure there are more out there that are close they just aren't wasting their time downloading apps and the like.

Enough about apps! NEXT.....

This will be the third year that we have been super serious about our garden, and lets face doesn't get anymore local than that!! Gardening is A LOT of work...dirty work! But the amount of satisfaction that comes from the oh so delicious fruits, vegetables and herbs is soooooo worth it!

Last year while I was pulling weeds and harvesting veggies, all I could think about is how cool it would be to open a restaurant featuring all locally grown food....just so happens there is one just a half mile from my house that is for sale!! How cool would that be? Way cool (is the correct answer)!! Problem is...well money is always a problem (almost not even worth mentioning, but I did)....but more than that is how to go about it? Is there a market for it? Hey....I even just came up with a name...."Locavore"....what do you think?

I did step way out of my comfort zone last year and finally went to our local Farmer's Market to sell some of our extra veggies; although my homemade artisan bread was the biggest seller.

Farmer's Markets are all the rage these days....but apparently not where I live! Most nights there were only about three vendors, towards the end of the season a few more showed up to get rid of their excesses. Also, I thought more people would be standing in line to check out all of the local produce. After talking with a few people, I soon realized the reason for the absence of the huge crowds I had envisioned. Nobody knew about it! A serious lack of advertising. If people did know about the farmer's market, they were confuseed on the time and place.

The lack of advertising is part of the reason for my Dustyacre Homesteading facebook page and for writing this blog! To get the word out about fresh, local produce!!

Becoming a locavore is not something I set out to do....but with all of the disturbing facts coming out about our food and food regulations, and even increased awareness about healthy eating habits; it seems like the ONLY thing to do! I am fully aware that given the region I live in, this is not possible for all foods or year round even...but every little bit helps!!

I want to close this blog post with something Maurice said a couple of years ago on Earth Day...kinda sums it up!

"In honor of Earth Day, I am hauling produce that was grown in the desert to store shelves 2100 miles away, burning up 380 gallon of diesel fuel along the way." (The actual quote was much better, but I can't find it word for get the idea!)