Kitchen Garden

The Tomato Deal


LAKE MACBRIDE— There are six crates of organic farm tomato seconds in various states in our kitchen. Today’s goal is to process them all and have quarts of tomato juice and pints of plain sauce canned and ready before bedtime. I spent about an hour washing tomatoes last night after dinner, and have been at it since 6 a.m. this morning. The tomato deal is an important part of this local food system.

TomatoesHere’s the deal. A CSA produces tomatoes for farm shares, and has seconds, which are not suitable for the customers. I get a call when there are some, pick them up, along with canning jars, process and can them into a few categories of food ingredient. No salt, vinegar or preservatives, with the end result being jars of diced tomatoes, tomato sauce or tomato juice. The juice is the strained liquid left in the cooking vessels, and not tomatoes run through a hand or motor powered juicer. The farmer labor is producing the tomatoes, mine is processing them. We split the finished product 50-50.

So far, it is looking to be successful. Check back when the tomatoes really start coming in.