Fall: When Hope Turns To Thanks

| 9/18/2014 12:30:00 PM

Chef ElizabethFall has arrived very quickly and put an abrupt end to a rather short summer. Where did it go? It seems as if I just put all those plants in the ground. It is the summer that never was. Harvest time has arrived and, as I pick the last of the tomatoes, I have mixed feelings. One of the wonderful things about farming is the lessons you learn along the way. I have discovered that you need to be flexible and roll with the punches.

I started the season determined to grow heirloom baby tomatoes - the yellow pear and black cherry varieties. I thought they would sell very well – people are looking for new varieties that are difficult to find in the markets. I had a vision of people coming to my farm stand to buy my produce. Problem was, my business plan was blown because I could not find the tomatoes seedlings anywhere. One nursery promised me for three weeks to bring them in for me, and they never did. Next year I will source them out by catalogue, and I have saved seeds from this year’s crop. I had to settle for regular cherry tomatoes. I chose two varieties - 100 Million and large cherry tomatoes.


One suggestion is that if you do plan to grow cherry tomatoes plant the BIG ones. Why? Cherry tomatoes are time consuming and backbreaking work. You smarten up quickly when you are in the hot sun harvesting your crops. You stop and ask yourself, “What was I thinking?”

Cherry tomatoes are best eaten as they ripen, and, although I made tomato jam with them, it took me hours to cook the water out of them. I finally just started placing them in colanders and pressed them. The juice was delicious as a vegetable drink and great in Bloody Marys as well. I also used some of the juice in my pasta dishes. Waste not, want not!

jam pot 

9/19/2014 10:29:25 AM

Hi Nebraska Dave- Sounds like you too had a tough year. The crops did not do very well and as you read we had so much rain that few vegetables were pollinated. All it takes is one bad storm. Sorry to hear that happened to you. I would be happy to send you or post the recipe. It calls for no certo- I don't use that in my preserves or jams. Instead I use patience - the results are delicious. Hope you have a great Nebraska day.I was through Nebraska many times over the last 2 years hoping to catch the cranes at Kearney. Last spring I was close- they were in the air but never landed. I hope this year I will get that chance. Cheers, Chef Elizabeth

9/19/2014 7:57:43 AM

Chef Elizabeth, I am really upset about the loss of your money to fix up an out building kitchen. That would have been so nice to keep the heat out of the house during the summer months. You really must tell me more about the tomato jam recipe. The Internet recipes always use jello as a thickening agent but that never really appealed to me. ***** It was a very wet unseasonably cool summer here in Nebraska as well. So much so that I really didn't get much planted in the garden and it appears that it wouldn't have grown well anyway. Very few tomatoes were harvested from my plants. A big storm blew through at the end of June with baseball sized hail and 100+ wind with seven inches of rain that caused flash flooding. It broke my garden spirit for the year and I just worked on fence building and raised bed building. My sights are on next year with anticipation of a better gardening year. ***** Have a great tomato jam day.

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