While we grow all sorts of vegetables, the veggie I most look forward to harvesting are the tomatoes that I grow in the greenhouse. Nothing tastes as good at home grown tomatoes. As you can see from the photo, I grow a lot of different varieties; cherries, paste, and beef. We eat them on our salads, in fresh salsa, but we can only eat so many fresh, so a lot of them are canned for use over the winter.
My grandparents were farmers, who owned a large commercial greenhouse, where they grew both “hothouse” tomatoes, and field tomatoes. As a youngster, I had a summer job working on the farm. I would have to get up early to pick tomatoes before the greenhouse got too hot and uncomfortable to work in as the summer days heated up.
Along with Sylvester, an old wiry, story-telling, farmhand, I would work my way down the long rows in the field, sweating under the stifling summer sun, picking tomatoes and putting them in the half bushel baskets we held by the leather straps that hooked on the wire basket handles. I often had to hide behind tomato plants so Syl wouldn’t see my laughing at his outrageous stories. (He would tell me things like how he lifted a barrel, full of water, onto the back of a truck all by himself.)
Once we had the field or greenhouse picked, some of tomatoes went into the cool underground cellar for storage, while others were taken to the workshed, where we would wipe them with a cloth, and pack them face down in boxes ready for the grocery stores.
Those tomato days of my youth set me up for growing tomatoes throughout my life, and I still enjoy growing them all these many decades later.
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