The text message came while I worked at the home, farm and auto supply store. I saw it on my afternoon break.
“If you want to start tomatoes there is a crate on the packing shed floor you could pick up on way home from work,” Farmer Kate texted. “I’m not home but if you need help finding them let me know.”
We barter my labor canning for her tomatoes. Ready or not, the next aspect of the local food season begins with its quick-paced rush to beat spoilage.
When I picked up the tomatoes there was also a crate of bell pepper seconds unclaimed by CSA members. A farm worker offered them and I put the crate in the back of my Subaru.
On the way hope I spotted the librarian leaving the library for her car and swung by to offer some peppers. My sister in law was at our house when I arrived home. I offered her some too. They are so sweet — unlike what’s available at the grocery store. A gift to be shared.
The garden is coming in with more apples than can be picked before they drop. Pears are almost ready, there are tomatoes, celery, hot peppers, basil and more waiting to be harvested and processed. There will be more cucumbers for pickling. Sweet corn will run another week or two at the roadside stand and we want to put some up. Every night after work and most mornings before, I’m in the garden harvesting or in the kitchen making dishes and preserving the harvest. Right now tomatoes, peppers, sweet corn and apples are in the house waiting to be processed. It’s a mad rush.
It’s also a good life. Staying busy with useful work blocks out negativity from other sectors of society. It’s cultured and produces the tangible benefits of relationships, knowledge and good food for our table and those with whom we share.
For the rest of August and September, it’s work, kitchen, garden for me.