July 12, 2011

On cherry tomatoes, frugality, and wanting

July 12, 2011 - Categories: life

[Tomatoes]We spent Saturday afternoon hanging out with W-‘s brother and his family, as W- was helping them move the fridge. Over the post-fridge-moving barbecue, his brother Morgan and I were chatting about gardens. I confessed that I grew cherry tomatoes because I can’t stand paying the premium for them at the supermarket.

Morgan pointed out that we make enough for me to buy cherry tomatoes if I want them. He said that when he craves steak, he goes out and buys it.

I can always want different things, I said. If cherry tomatoes aren’t ripening in our garden or on sale at the supermarket, I can get regular tomatoes, or other fruits and vegetables. I generally don’t crave things. It’s great to dig into a freshly-baked pan of lasagna or munch a sweet strawberry, but I can eat whatever fits the season or circumstance.

Moving to Canada from the Philippines helped me learn that, actually. I missed mangoes and cantaloupes like I missed colours in the desaturation of winter. No market here stocks anything like my remembered summer treats: green mango shakes, ripe mangoes at breakfast, melons scraped into strips and made into juice. Now they are rare treats, something to look forward to on our infrequent trips back to the Philippines.

Instead, I’m learning to like what I can get. Strawberries, then cherries and blueberries, then firmer fruits like peaches and apples. Sugar peas and cherry tomatoes when they’re fresh from the garden, basil and dill likewise. Now the blueberries at the front are starting to darken, and I can’t wait to see what they’ll be like. (Taking the risk that I might be convinced to never buy blueberries again…)

With practice, it becomes easier to follow the seasons and sales. We find more recipes for making use of the kale and zucchini that show up in our agriculture box, get better at using up the bits and pieces, develop routines for filling up the freezer with ready-to-go meals. In fact, the community-supported agriculture box is an interesting experiment: it removes choice and forces us to be even more creative.

So here it is, and I wait for the first proper cherry tomato of the season. I can buy them any time I want, but I find that I want other things instead while waiting. =)