But yesterday, I splurged on us. I kept that tomato. The decision was made somewhat easier for two reasons- there was only one tomato, and the last/only one of anything is often a tough sell (although in this case that probably was not true!), and secondly, it was our 8-year wedding anniversary. A special occasion deserving of good, homegrown food. Served simply, I cut it up and made a salad of fresh veggies- heirloom lettuces and kale, a cool cucumber, a banana pepper I picked- although it was small, it had a bug hole so the plant didn't need to invest more energy in it- green onion and fresh tomato, topped with a bit of shredded raw milk cheese. A perfect summer salad. Not unlike many others I've made over the years, but at the same time different, and better, too.
It may have been that first tomato. But also, it was the knowledge of just how much of ourselves that salad represented. Yes, we've grown all those veggies for years, but this year was the first time that I successfully started every tomato, every pepper, every single garden plant from seed here on the farm. This is the first year we purchased absolutely no bedding plants from anywhere else. So that tomato? I nurtured it from a tiny seed, back in February. Same for the pepper. It's a pretty awesome feeling to be able to take homegrown to that level, and for many of the varieties of tomatoes & peppers, not only did I start from seed, but I started from seed that I saved myself from last year's crop. Truly, a big step in my own personal quest to preserve the idea of a historic American family farm, and to be ever-increasingly sustainable and self-sufficient. A pretty big deal to be able to do for ourselves, and yet, it's more than that, even...not only was I solely responsible for starting all the plants in our garden to feed ourselves, but I successfully started enough not just for us, but for dozens, maybe hundreds, of friends, neighbors, and visitors to the farm. Something to be proud of, for sure. So here's to the first tomato, and to many more this gardening season!