The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Do I want Thanksgiving tomatoes?

Chickens eat tomatoesLast year, I was so excited to have homegrown tomatoes left at Thanksgiving.  This year, I gave the last of the house-ripened tomatoes to the chickens.

The truth is that even the best heirloom tomatoes taste an awful lot like storebought if they're picked green in October before the first frost and ripened inside.  It may sound crazy, but we'd rather eat delicious lettuce, leafy greens, and carrots at this time of year than a less than perfect tomato.

In fact, we're hardly even eating out of the freezer yet.  Even summer soup, frozen at its peak of perfection, doesn't hold a candle to the sweetness of November kale.  Maybe I'll replace my dream of a Thanksgiving tomato with a New Year's salad?

Our chicken waterer gives the flock something to peck other than each other during boring winter days.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I've definitely noticed this with our tomatoes as well. They've been sitting in a bowl on the counter untouched for about a week but I can't get rid of them knowing they are the last ones!
Comment by John Amrhein Tue Dec 6 07:07:27 2011
In Japan they call the peak season for taste and harvest the "Shun." That perfect window of ripeness unique for each vegetable. So I guess now Kale is in shun in your garden?
Comment by Eric in Japan Tue Dec 6 10:28:56 2011
That's just were we differ. Obviously there's a world of difference from a fresh, vine-ripened heirloom tomato in August and a store-bought tomato (especially the pink ones sold in the winter). But for me, that pink tomato is better than no tomato. Leafy greens and carrots without tomatoes? Boring.
Comment by Edward Antrobus Tue Dec 6 11:26:56 2011

John --- That's the beauty of chickens. No guilt to toss those last fruits you don't want to eat. After all, they're going to turn into eggs!

Eric --- I love it! This is definitely the season when kale is in shun. :-)

Comment by anna Tue Dec 6 11:33:50 2011
Edward --- I used to think that way, but it's amazing how once you get 100% of your vegetables from your garden, you start being able to really taste the difference between in season and out of season produce. I used to think that a salad had to have a tomato on it, but now I'd vastly prefer tasty in season produce to insipid out of season produce. It really just tastes better.
Comment by anna Tue Dec 6 11:45:44 2011

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