Digging out of My Ketsup Filled Hole

Would you believe I’m still canning? It’s true but I’m nearly done. I know I said I was trying not to can this year but in September when I open up the door to bags of ripe fruit and see the tomatoes making their last gasp in the garden I always panic.

I must have been a squirrel in a former life. You would think I starved as a child but food is my baseline – it reassures me and comforts me. It’s not the food for me so much as the thought of my family wanting for something that I could have provided them at one point but now it’s too late because that fruit is no longer in season.

So while I was a lot of talk about more fermenting and less canning this year I’m still canning enough food to feed a small army. A tomato army perhaps….

I’m finally up for air long enough to load image software on my new yet again computer following the laptop virus two weeks ago (followed by the dead car then followed by the full body blistering hives.) So I apologize that it’s taken me this long but then it’s been one dousie of a month in which one month felt like six.

photo by Joshua McNichols

This is a shot a few hours into the produce pickup. Imagine that two hours of tomatoes have already left this picture.

photo by Joshua McNichols

We recruited even small children to unload the trucks. I hope no one from CPS is reading this blog.

photo by Joshua McNichols

The lovely Jess carrying more than her fair share of tomatoes.

photo by Joshua McNichols

Tryouts for the strong man competition.

photo by Joshua McNichols

And the most adorable garlic-eating-baby competition.

photo by Katie Dodsley

Pictures of Katie’s tomato treats that warm the cockles of my heart.

Hopefully in the next few days I can get my canning tally and harvest tallies up here as well as post pictures of processing tomatoes with those of you who came and processed with me. I had a blast and feel so strongly convinced that supporting small farmers like this – and enticing as many of you as possible to participate in this buy rather than buying canned tomatoes at the store this winter – is the next wave of the real food movement. Thanks for being a part of it!

14 Responses to Digging out of My Ketsup Filled Hole

  1. What a great post – with some very cute photos too! It’s so lovely to see folks working together like that, and how wonderful to have all that lovely produce put up for the winter. Sorry to hear about the computer virus, dead car and hives though!!

  2. They’re so pretty. I hear you on trying to reduce canning, but tomato products will always be canned here. How do you like the catsup? My family likes the big H stuff and I’m looking to break them of it.

  3. I am still not done canning either this year. I am way far behind on my blog posts related to canning, so you are not alone. I hope to be done this weekend. Also, I am super jelous of your tomato crop this year. We had a terrible season for tomatoes so there were not a lot to be had.

  4. Hmnm, 14 quarts of tomatoes later — some pureed and frozen, some roasted and frozen — I am still digging out from under asian pears and 150 ears of corn — I haven’t canned a thing and I said I would! It’s all in the freezer … next year I will go low-tech for sure. Thank you soooo much for this harvest blessing! Love the pics.

  5. It was great fun! I finally got through all my peppers-well, I didn’t, my husband commandeered them for a very spicy sauce! It was a lot of work but well worth it, and I love seeing how my pantry and fridge have been transformed, and how less and less of my money is going to the grocery store these days.

  6. Canning and preserving is always more fun with some help in the kitchen. I have been doing a fair amount this past week and I am sorely missing my daughters help. (sigh) It is sad when they grow up and move out – especially when it is canning season! LOL!

  7. Thanks April – feeling like things are nearly back in control, minus the garden and house!
    Miss Nirvana we had terrible tomatoes this year so it was nice buying them from the other side of the mountains! Where they also had a super late crop with a very narrow window. Hope you get your canning done!
    NatureGrrrl you must have a big freezer! Or maybe not so many packages of meat as I do LOL!
    Rebecca I’m so glad you came over. I just wish I had gotten more pictures of the actual canning! And your comments warm my heart. xo!
    KFG I really wish I had a daughter for just this reason, although I think Chicken Little may just turn into a chef. Of course I’m pushing hard for that!

  8. I made my first batch of ketchup this year. Surprisingly easy! Love seeing all those to tomatoes, what a gorgeous haul!

  9. Annette,

    You are exactly right, and I’m glad to hear you talk about buying from the local farmers, and promoting the local food movement. It is exciting, and growing bigger all the time.

    Did you know that there isn’t one county in the country that can feed itself? That is appalling, and scary. There is a movement that is going to fix that, with a plan (long- and short-term).


    We know that Seattle is way ahead in terms of urban food…that’s terrific! We are pushing their model here in Springfield, MO.

    Please help me spread the word and encourage people to get behind the Well Fed Neighbor Alliance and get going in your area.

    We can create vibrant sustainable communities once again, and all based on food. Let’s get our food security back, and create jobs for everyone. Learn how at the WFNA website.

    Thanks for your beautiful blog and your commitment to local food production and consumption.

  10. Hello Annette:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.
    Could it be possible for you to send me a picture of your chipotle peppers? I had been looking for good chipotles for awhile with out luck.

    Other things that you can do with your chipotles is pickle them, and also stuff them with tuna, chicken, shredded meat and even potatoes. Just soak them in water until plum take the seed out, dry and fill them up. Of course they are hot.

    I usually add 1 or 2 chipotles to some dishes like meatballs or shredded meat or chicken with tomato sauce. This dish is called Tinga and is used to top tostadas.

    For more uses of chipotle please email me. I will gladly help you.


  11. I love that you organized the tomato buy. And canning and tomatoes just belong together, don’t they. I put up tomatoes, sauce and salsa. The first day my husband said the salsa was too vinegary. Then he started loving it and now I have to hide it if i want any for the winter. Now almost tomatillo time. I am so excited to have green salsa of my own.

  12. I LOVE that your church helped put this all together – but where in the world did you get 3000 pounds of quality food from? Inquiring minds would like to know :-)

  13. 6512 – I’m surprised it’s your first year since you do so much already but I bet it won’t be your last…
    Mely thanks so much – I’m making more salsa with them tomorrow but they are soooooooooo good!
    Sarah they do! I am loving that lacto-fermented salsa and making a chipotle version tomorrow. No canning required! Just chopping…
    Corinne I actually just used the church space – I organized the buy using 6 farmers. The first 5 were small farmers who don’t sell to the markets, usually just to stores like Whole Foods. The final farmer I had to pull in at the last minute when the others were only able to harvest 2,000 pounds and I had sold 3,000. Next year I’ll be getting help!

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