In my early childhood, Grandma took care of me while my parents were at work, so I was privy to everything that went on at the McIntyre Farm on a daily basis. Pap-Pap went to a job, but he got up early every day and did farm work, then came home in the evening, had Supper, and tended the farm some more until bedtime. I loved helping pick vegetables with Grandma in the Summer and bringing them to the porch in big baskets. One of my favorite harvests was the Tomato Harvest.
During Tomato Time, all of our aunts, uncles, cousins and good friends regularly came to the Farmhouse to pick tomatoes and to help peel tomatoes for canning until every last tomato was harvested. There were always happy sounds of the pressure cookers on the stove and chatter and laughter of friends and family on the porch. Several times a week, Grandma fried up a skillet of green-fried tomatoes and Pap-Pap and I would eat plates full with big glasses of milk, and I looked forward to these special times every year.
If you grow your own tomatoes, you know there is nothing like home-grown tomatoes. With their vibrant and varying colors, they are the shining stars of garden and an absolute summer staple. Tomatoes from the grocery store simply do not compare to tomatoes from the garden in color, variety, and flavor.
During winter, it can be very difficult to find decent tomatoes for salads and salsas, but tomatoes on the vine can be a pretty good alternative. However, when our little backyard garden starts to produce tomatoes in July, August, and September, we eat tomato sandwiches, tomato salads, salsas, and green-fried tomatoes until tomatoes come out of our ears. We do this because we love tomatoes, but we also do this because we love our heritage and it is part of who we are. I have literally cured my own broken heart a time or two by simply sitting down to a plate of green-frieds.
A year after we married (July, 1996), my husband and I moved to Idaho. We were living in an apartment in Boise, and it was the first year in a long time that I didn’t have even a little tomato plant. One day a package that had been Priority Mailed from Pennsylvania arrived at our door and we wondered what it could be as the contents rumbled and tumbled when shaken. Upon opening it, we found ten perfect, whitish-green, beefsteak tomatoes, and a letter from Grandma. She knew I wouldn’t have my own tomatoes that year, but she wanted to make sure I got my green-fried tomatoes.
Copyright 2018, Christine M. Snow