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Every spring my dad planted a huge vegetable garden. It was full of rows of the typical heritage tomatoes, fiery hot chiles, potatoes and the more
adventurous rutabaga, eggplant and okra. The chiles were all his... after the time my little sister touched the seeds and then rubbed her eyes
none of us were willing to go anywhere near those toxic plants posing as food.
My mom, who was used to having the house all to herself while we were off at school, would start to feel claustrophobic a few weeks into the summer so
we were sent to play outside. "If you're not bleeding and need to see the doctor, I don't need to hear about it," she would tell us as what must have been
one of the last holdouts before helicopter parenting took over.
And so out we would go into the wilderness of our backyard. Armed with bows made from sticks and bits of yarn we would hunt for our food, filling
our playhouse with imaginary bears, just like in The Little House on the Prairie. When our adventuring made our stomachs start to growl as loud
as the bears we were hunting we turned to gathering, picking fresh apricots, apples, and plums from the trees and drinking cool water straight from the
garden house "stream". There were always more than enough apples for us and for our dad; since the fruit on the top branches was out of our reach he
got to pick and eat those for himself.
The tomatoes were another story entirely. As the oldest, I was just about the same height as the tallest tomato plant so no fruit was out of
our reach. Further, our small hands and wrists meant that we were much better equipped to retrieve the fruit from the tomato cage. We would squeeze our
hands between the bars to pick a tomato, passing it from one hand to the other until we were able to pass it over the top of the wire cage. We would pop
the cherry tomatoes like candy and eat the plum tomatoes like apples.
My dad never gave up hoping we would leave a tomato or two behind. He'd get home from work excited to eat the tomatoes he had seen on the vine
when he watered the garden that morning. But every time he walked through the door saying he was on his way to pick the cherry tomatoes,
we'd say "Oh ,we ate those already! They were yummy!!"
Tomato Varieties we've grown or eaten
Roasted Tomato and Pepper Dipping Sauce
Super Simple Cherry Tomato Pasta Sauce
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