Every year, our tomato crops are by far our most successful of everything we grow.
After planting our first garlic in the fall of 2011, the first structure we put up was our hoop house. We filled it with five raised beds and started growing tomatoes as soon as spring rolled around. Year after year, the tomato plants have been herculean and prolific, especially where cherry tomatoes are concerned.
We’ve had good luck with beefsteak-style tomatoes as well, having grown several different heirloom varieties. But our Achilles’ heel has always been the romas.
For whatever reason, amid bed after bed of successful heirloom tomatoes, the bed of sauce tomatoes has always fared poorly.
Until this year.
This year, we had a truckload of a beautiful variety called Grandma Mary’s Paste Tomatoes. They are, as are all our seeds, organic and GMO-free. We will definitely be using these again for next year’s crop.
The processing of tomatoes is super easy and doesn’t take particularly long.
Once they were all freed of their skin and seeds, we slow-simmered the sauce for much of the day, reducing it to a lovely saucy consistency.
Adding garlic and basil from our garden, we ended up with several quarts of finished sauce that will last us quite awhile.
There are still enough tomatoes in the hoop house to go through this exercise at least once more.
Plus, there’s the happy by-product that makes all the farm animals grunt and squeal and cluck with joy!
The leftover mess of skins and seeds is, quite possibly, one of the greatest gifts you can provide both chickens and piglets. They adore this equally and we were hard-pressed to divvy it up fairly.
Since the piglets have been escaping their not-so-enclosed-enclosure, anything we feed to the chickens is fair game to them as well.
We tried to be equitable but, ultimately, when it comes to food, it’s every creature for him/herself.
Until they learn to open jars, however, our lovely homemade sauce should be safe.