Tuesday, September 15, 2009


There really is nothing like the sharp tangy smell of a tomato as it is freshly picked off of the vine. Bright red and warmed by the sun; hidden under mounds of bright green leaves. This is how I was waxing lyrical as I was filling my bushel basket at "Cooper's CSA Farm & Maze" ~ they've now opened up their tomato, strawberry and potato fields to u-pick!! The Cooper's Roma tomatoes are a particular type that are supposed to be optimal for canning ~ frankly as this was my first time ever canning tomatoes, I chose to believe Steve as I knew no different! 1 bushel of tomatoes, 3 quarts of strawberries and a 1/2 bushel of russet potatoes later, we headed home. Carrying the bushel basket was a little tricky (didn't seem so heavy when I was out in the fields with the sounds of bees and crickets filling my head!!!) but I finally wrestled it into the kitchen and began the monumental task of preparing the tomatoes for canning...

With the giant cauldron of water boiling, my sinks filled with ice water and my favourite tunes on the ipod, I peeled and diced 1/2 the bushel. Once those 1L jars were in the canner, I decided that perhaps some whole tomatoes would be nice too ~ some I packed with water and some in strained tomato puree. Then at around the 5th hour of preparing tomatoes, I decided that perhaps some tomato sauce was also in order! The last 1/4 of the bushel was devoted to sauce, and I added some tomatillos that were part of my CSA basket, for good measure.

The whole process really made me appreciate the amount of work that our Grandmother's went to in order to ensure they had items such as fresh tomatoes, all throughout the year as nothing else was available to them. I also like knowing that I am preserving produce that is sustainably raised, and is canned using only a couple of tablespoonfuls of fresh lemon juice!
This is DEFINITELY the best part of living in a farming community and being affiliated with a CSA program!!

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