As you have definitely noticed from all of my updates, this summer has been anomalous. Cold spring temperatures that led directly into the sweltering of summer. There was no transition. There was no time for adjustment. There was no time for plants to adapt to the heat and the drought. It was immediate and it was oh so intense. And there is no better plant that epitomizes our struggles this year, than our most anxiously awaited crop, the tomato.
We hosted a farm dinner in honor of the prized fruit in early August. The culinary series on the farm has been so very successful this season, and a way to highlight not only the produce, but the beauty and depth of the farm’s vision and practice. As the guests streamed into the Three Sisters Garden, they marveled at the beauty surrounding them, and they delighted in exquisitely designed and curated tomato cocktails, as they waited for dinner.
When the guests sat down at the long farm table, before the first course dropped, I stood up alongside our talented magician of a chef, and made a deeply painful confession. The tomatoes that the guests would be enjoying that evening were not grown at our farm. A collective look of confusion struck the faces of many of the guests, and I continued to divulge our little admission. While we had a hoop house full of gorgeous, burgeoning tomato plants dripping with fruits… every single last one of them was green. Not one tomato was ready for our showcase dinner.
As I continued, with the humble smile only a farmer can understand, I explained that our season was just too harsh this year to give us tomatoes for this dinner. Because our spring was so cold, we weren’t able to flip our hoop house over as early as we had hoped. And we don’t have fans in our hoop house, because we didn’t need them last year. So by the time those tomatoes were put in the ground, our June temperatures were soaring above 95 degrees in there. Which means for tomatoes, a flat out frustrating halt. Fruits develop, but they just sit there, and new flowers don’t set. No ripening, just a holding pattern.
So, I exposed the truth about farming to our lovely and excited dinner guests. Farming is impossible to predict. Farming changes every single year. Farming keeps you on your toes. Sometimes, the farm pays out and showers us with love and bounty. And sometimes, the farm denies us the opportunity to relish in the rewards of how hard we work. Farming makes you humble, honest, and submissive to nature. And that’s why I love it.
But I also love that we finally have tomatoes…
Swing by the farm stand tomorrow from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm - your humble farmers will thank you!
All the best,
The Gracie’s FarmHers