Resilience Discussion: "Tomato Canning as Protest"

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https://www.resilience.org/stories/2018-08-13/tomato-canning-as-protest-...

It’s mid-August, about 7:30 in the morning, and it’s going to be a hot one, probably in the mid-90s. It’s a good day to spend in a basement. A church basement, for example, where our rural neighborhood is gathering.

This is a tomato-canning day, and about 20 of us will pass in and out of the basement kitchen, “working up,” as we say in Missouri, tomatoes for the winter.

Fabulous article, actually originally published 18 years ago. I hope my community evolves into this. No hope in the local narrative until last week, I encountered two workers at our local Harbor Freight store who are avid gardeners. One of them a super gardener . . . starts plants using aquaponics!

I look forward to comments, however, this might be an article to simply absorb.

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JekyllnHyde's picture

... from the wayback machine - Seeing Red: Eating Locally and Debunking the Red-Blue Divide.


Symptomatic of this rural-urban identity crisis is our eager embrace of a recently imposed divide: the red states and the blue states. That color map comes to us with the suggestion that both coasts are populated by educated civil libertarians, while the vast middle and south are crisscrossed with the studded tracks of atvs leaving a trail of flying beer cans and rebel yells.

In fact, the politics of rural regions are no more predictable than those in cities. "Conservative" is a reasonable position for a farmer who can lose home and livelihood all in one year by taking a risk on a new crop. But that's "conservative" as in, "eager to conserve what we have, reluctant to change the rules overnight," and unrelated to how the term is currently (often incomprehensibly) applied in party politics.

Given this history, one might expect the so-called red states to vote consistently for candidates supporting working-class values. In fact, our nation in almost every region is divided in a near dead heat between two parties that don't distinguish themselves clearly along class lines. If every state were visually represented with the exact blend of red and blue it earned in recent elections, we'd have ourselves a big purple country. The tidy divide is a media Just So story.


I wrote a diary on the Kingsolver article in 2007 and had this to say about one Hillary Clinton (DK Link). In some respects, it was a very different political era though some concerns remain the same.

What Kingsolver alludes to is a mindset that exists among some of our national Democratic politicians. A certain Hillary Clinton comes to mind though she's not the only one - politicians who (in some ways) have shed their rural or suburban persona to reinvent themselves as 'city sophisticates.' How did they achieve this? By bettering themselves through our system of meritocracy. You perhaps know the story well as it may even mirror your own or your parents' life story. It is a story that many of us are familiar with: get a college education, perhaps a graduate or professional degree from an elite institution, move to the inner city, get a decent-paying job, acquire new material possessions, get 'busy,' and comfortable. Why worry about those struggling to meet ends? After all, 'we' who are successful are here because this meritocratic system of ours provided us the opportunities, and why shouldn't we pursue our own selfish dreams? It is, as many classical economists tell us, the essence of capitalism. Doggedly pursue your own self interest. The resulting benefits will accrue not only to you but others. In other words, the classic 'trickle down' theory of economics popularized during the Reagan Era.

Admirable as it might be in a country that values excellence and achievement in life, what this upward mobility also brings with it is a certain arrogance, insularity, and perhaps an inability to talk to those not so fortunate and left behind. Contrast this with Democratic politicians of the past (and patricians no less) like Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy who were wildly popular with the traditional working classes whose cause the Democratic Party has historically championed and still pretends to represent.

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A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma

Lookout's picture

@JekyllnHyde

The Harvest Table http://visitabingdonvirginia.com/listing/harvest-table-restaurant/
is well worth a stop if any of you are in the area.

For years there's been a community Kitchen for food processing on Sand Mountain (one ridge north of Lookout). There were grants available for these sorts of projects if y'all live in a community that might have an interest. Here's a place to get started
http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/take-action-to-improve-health/what-w...

We are on to a new tomato processing trick using the crock pot. Saute onions, garlic, peppers, (whatever you like in your sauce) and add it and any herbs (basil etc you like) to the pot. Finish filling with chopped tomatoes. Turn to high and bring to a boil, turn down to low and continue cooking with the lid off till it gets to the desired thickness. You can freeze or can the sauce. We do this on the porch to keep the house cool.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

mhagle's picture

@JekyllnHyde

I am still absorbing it. Smile

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Marilyn

"Make dirt, not war." eyo

enhydra lutris's picture

urban and suburban among us without a lot of changes, but one important takeaway generalizes quite broadly:

Among neighbors a lot of food swapping went on. If you had a good apple tree and your neighbor had a good peach tree, well then, you both had apples and peaches. This swapping and diversity insulated a neighborhood from failures, both the human kind and the crop kind.

It needn't be edibles, or fruits or whatever, but it can be. Even classic apartment buildings can sprout balcony and roof gardens, but the older suburbs are ripe for a land use revolution. Pull the ornamentals, dig up the lawns and plant edibles. Share the harvest, and, who knows, maybe some of the work too.

I'm currently surrounded by a lot of folks roughly my age, which means, for example, that there is a lot of tool lending that goes on, and when nobody has a given implement, the one who finally breaks down and acquires it usually lets the others know that one is finally on hand.

The system exploits us as consumers, so all sharing and lending is a blow against our exploitation and out exploiters. In addition, it all reduces the total societal demand for jobs and money, and the exploiters really rely upon that need to keep wages and benefits down.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

QMS's picture

@enhydra lutris kinda like exploiters, but with a digging fever. ? makes 'em think hoarding has any kind of lasting benefit for the restofus claim on resources. Makes no sense. Sorry. I'm sad. Greed is sanctified. Time to swallow the canon. Maybe tasteless, will speed ingestion. The facts passing understanding. With your help we can build a future.

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9 users have voted.

Listen to your higher mind.

smiley7's picture

time.

Big thank you!

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smiley7's picture

threads by other c99er's during this last hour; temporary glitch on site, or on this end?

No biggie; probably will pass.

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snoopydawg's picture

@smiley7

I do a double post. But I've gotten the glitch a few times lately too. No biggie, ehh?

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Disclaimer: No Russian, living or dead, had anything to do with the posting of this proudly home-grown comment

smiley7's picture

@snoopydawg
Sad cheers, snoopy.

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snoopydawg's picture

I have fond memories of helping my grandma canning peaches, pears and other things, but she wouldn't let me in the room when she was canning tomatoes.

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Disclaimer: No Russian, living or dead, had anything to do with the posting of this proudly home-grown comment

tomorrow, Wednesday, I'll pressure can a 14 quart batch of my world famous (well locally famous anyway) V-10 veggie/tomato juice. That will bring the total to 100 quarts and I'm not done yet. It takes about 7 hours for the whole operation but man is it worth it. Good stuff!

Ingredients:
Tomatoes - about 27-28 lbs. to make 14 quarts
Carrots
Onions
Fresh Spinach
Green Bell Peppers
Cucumbers
Clove Garlic
Beets
Celery
Parsley

Seasonings:
Sugar
Salt
Black Pepper
Horseradish
Worcestershire Sauce

Yummmmmy and nutritious and better than store bought V-8! 100 quarts=2 quarts per week for wifey and I for a year. Over 100 and I share with family and friends.

Also have canned over 100 pints of green beans and a half a freezer full of sweetcorn. Carrots are next.

I tell people what I do with my spare time in the summer and occasionally eyes will glaze over and they'll ask, "Isn't it a lot easier to just buy it at the store"? They just don't get it. You can't buy the satisfaction of getting your hands dirty, nurturing the plants and savoring the harvest at a store.

Thanks Marilyn for a great article.

PS: Speaking of sharing, this year I experienced the nightmare of planting my garden near a Black Walnut tree. Black Walnut and its toxin, juglone, do not mix well with plants in the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant and potatoes. It devastated my tomato crop and the yield was cut at least in half but thanks to generous friends and neighbors I was gifted more than enough to reach my quota of V-10. So yeah, I need to can a lot more than 100 quarts.

Got to get back to the land. Yep, the hippies were right again.

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JekyllnHyde's picture

@JtC

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A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma

@JekyllnHyde
my thoughts exactly my friend. The Zombie Apocalypse drives my ambition. We are ready.

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Lookout's picture

@JtC

Very productive of you. Not only does it taste better, is better for you, and is a slap in the face to big Ag, but it can also be fun. Growing food is a satisfying activity.

As to jugalone and allelopathy, my partner has for decades tried to plant flowers around some of our hickory trees (also a member of the Juglandaceae family). I finally convinced her to plant in pots around the trees and voila no problem. Might be a solution for you...or possibly straw bale planting?

Well all the best to all of you and your gardens!

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10 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout
to move the tomatoes and green bell peppers away from the Walnut tree. My neighbor and I share 3 large gardens so it will be relatively easy to relocate them. The corn, beans and carrots did really well so they'll remain there.

The pots, straw bale and raised beds are great ideas but I don't think they would work in this case as the problem was wind blown rain droplets, the garden is just a few feet west from the drip canopy of the Walnut tree so any slight wind from the east with the rain gave my garden a good juglone shower. My green bell peppers were a wash out from the day I planted them.

I nor my neighbor, also an avid gardener, had any idea about Black Walnut toxicity until this happened. Live and learn.

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earthling1's picture

Have moved into the front.
15342996017151388984461.jpg
Cucuzza squash overtaking the house. Have numerous new recipes for it though.
Bidding on a three acre plot tomorrow. Has 50 gpm well and plenty of sunshine. Rural. Up the Cowlitz River.
I hope I hope I hope.
Thanks Marilyn. Will need some guidance on chickens though.

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dkmich's picture

I helped my aunt can tomatoes once. I think it might have been the first and last time for both of us. My SIL is a great canner. The fruit she puts up is to die for.

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

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mhagle's picture

@dkmich

Food is love. Maybe?

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Marilyn

"Make dirt, not war." eyo

mhagle's picture

@JtC @earthling1 @enhydralutris @lookout @QMS @snoopydawg @smiley7 @JekyllnHyde @dkmich

Such wonderful comments. JtC = your canning efforts are a hundred miles beyond anything I have achieved and the same is true for Lookout. OMG I hope you might share your recipes on http://allrecipes.com so I can put them in my favorites folder. And earthling1 I am so envious of your Cucuzza crop. Wow. I just planted seeds I saved - not really knowing the right way to save them - and nothing produced. Sad 3 acres is good earthling, and funky urban garden systems for you and enhydra I am glad you like it too smiley. QMS . . . what is your gardening situation? Childhood gardening memories are ones we should cling to.

JekyllnHyde . . . I am not really ready for the Zombie Apocolypse. I am not doing canning, because I am the only one in my family totally into this, so I freeze. Yes . . . it is a hazard because you need electricity.

I will post another resilience.org article soon. Much love to you all.

I edited this comment because I was writing in hast yesterday. Hope most of you see this.

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Marilyn

"Make dirt, not war." eyo