Singing to green tomatoes does not enhance the ripening process
"Turn red, little tomatoes, turn red," I sang to the green tomatoes hanging on the four towering tomato plants just outside my sun porch door. Please understand, to my knowledge I have never in my life sang to tomatoes for any reason or at anytime.
My cats, Blue and Sky, were out on the porch when I heard myself singing away to the green tomatoes. There is no telling what the cats thought. They must like singing. They did not hide.
It is true, however, that I have laughed over tomatoes — those that grow the strangest knots on them — and those that look like people's faces.
But singing was all new for me.
There are many large green tomatoes on the vines and as soon as they turn red they are headed straight into a pie dish for a tomato pie.
My first tomato pies of the season came out of the oven last Friday night while visiting friends in the central part of the state.
The tomatoes were store bought, not my favorite for pies or any other delicious tomato dish.
A person can't compare a home grown tomato for a store bought one.
The fresh basil for the pie came right from friends' herb garden.
The cost to make two tomato pies is about $22. That includes buying the tomatoes, the onion, pie crust, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese and the mayo.
The best $22 I've spent in a long time.
If you're making the pies, a person might as well make two since the pie shells come in twos. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
The green tomatoes on my vines aren't nearly as serious of a problem as others are having this season with tomatoes and vegetables.
People who make a living selling summer produce or those who put it up for the winter are struggling.
I feel so sorry for farmers who have lost their summer crops to the rain. Some have replanted as many as two or three times and hopefully, they will produce.
Others have had to throw away melons that have burst or green beans that have become rotten.
We're told by the expert farmers in our county, if we get sunny weather for the next three weeks, this year's crops will still be a success. Maybe not as plentiful as it could have been, but still good.
Growing up with people around me who did some serious gardening, I know the hard work. There is nothing like it.
My mother used to get up before the crack of dawn to start gathering the crops. By 8 or 9 a.m. she'd be back in the house ready to start the day's chores of preparing everything for the freezer, canning jars or making the best supper ever.
By 9 p.m. or later, she would be finished the day's garden work, only to begin the next day.
The evening's chores were shared by daddy when he got off work and by any kids or grandkids who would stop by to offer help.
I don't believe I've known any harder workers in my life than those who make sure our food is good and safe to eat.
My oldest niece inherited my mama's love of canning and freezing. She posted on Facebook on Friday a picture of the 22 pints of chow-chow she just completed. She uses the same recipe my mama used and it was the best in the country. The recipe is not a secret, several people have tried it, but my niece's finished product comes closest to mama's.
My niece and nephew's garden has also suffered because of the rain, but the garden is still growing and my nephew is still planting. That's the good news.
I bought some corn the other day and after heating it, shuck and all, in the microwave for 3 minutes, I was reminded of the flavor only fresh corn provides.
My parents' largest garden spot is now an extension of my back yard. Cutting the "North Forty" this week, while slipping and sliding along the tall wet grass, I thought of all those days spent in the garden and the subsequent months and even years of enjoying the harvest.
My mama put everything imaginable in a jar. My niece is just like her and she's teaching her boys how to work up the produce once it's in the house.
Last year when her three sons were spending a couple days with relatives in Ellenboro, I was responsible for driving them back to their home in Inman, S.C.
When I arrived in Ellenboro for the transport home, Isaiah looked up at me and asked, "Are the peas gone?"
When I told him all the crowder peas were gone, he replied, "Let's go home."
I love it that these boys can shell peas and break green beans and they really enjoy the taste. I love it that they take the scraps to the compost post.
Gardens make me smile, green tomatoes make me sing and tomato pies, well they are priceless.
So thanks to every farmer in this county and beyond who takes the time to make sure the rest of us have fresh vegetables.
The work is not easy; but the rewards are heavenly.