|The last pan of 2010 tomatoes - about to be sauced|
And also the thing that I most hate.
Living seasonally doesn't just mean that my life is tied to my environment, that I can live my respect for nature, and that I get to eat really well. Though, happily, those things are true. It means that I only get one go at things each year. One shot. So, as an optimistic 30 year old, living seasonally means I will only have - at most - 50 to 60 more tries at this.
My husband and I are constantly thinking about ways to make our farm better. He creates files about cultivation methods. I obsess over the best variety of shell bean to grow in our area. We both ponder sources for soil inputs, marketing methods, and the best way to grow a lot of tasty tomatoes. Each year we make a plan. We try to get it right. Of course there are always failures, big and small. We always end up with a big list of things to do differently next year.
50 tries probably sounds like a lot, but it isn't. Imagine that you only get 50 tries to get your life's passion right. A chef might cook the same dish, a pitcher practice the same pitch, a singer sing the same song countless times, until those actions are as natural as breathing. A farmer only gets to live each season once, and there are only so many seasons in a lifetime.
Which is why it is such a pain in the butt when, as a farmer, you screw something up. Like I did last night. Actually, I suppose this screw up was more in my role as farmer's wife rather than as farmer because it was a failure in the kitchen and not the field, but I have plenty of both.
I had been saving the last of the blueberries we picked this year in our freezer to make a batch of blueberry basil jam, something I sell at the local farmers' market, just for us. Then I had a brilliant idea for something new to try with the blueberries, blueberry green tomato relish. It started out nicely...(more pictures of things in pots here)
|Tastes good too.|
|It wasn't a catastrophic failure, but I'm not sure how I'll use|
up six pints of it.
I can think of a number of ways that this recipe went wrong. I used a bit too much vinegar, the wrong blueberry/tomato ratio, chopped the onions too fine and the tomatoes too large, and I obviously over cooked it. Plus I just realized that I should have added some fresh ginger. I'm sure that I could make another, better, batch of it right now. But I can't. I have to wait through the seasons before I can get my hands on more blueberries and green tomatoes.