The Tomato Road

This week our neighbor, Owen told us that the Plain Folk in the community who grow tomatoes for a living were at the end of their season and were needing to pull plants.  Before they pull plants, they offer FREE tomatoes to people in the community.  It is a blessing to live in such a community as this!

We pulled our plants out of the garden already and we did some canning from the harvest.  Not near what we normally do and that was because we got the garden in about a month too late.  We were late due to moving.  It was even a blessing we had time to get a garden in in the first place so we are thankful for what we did produce.  When Owen told me about the tomatoes, I was so excited, I thought, what provision from God!

Here I had about half the amount of tomatoes than normal, and here God just provides as many tomatoes as I need.  That is our loving Father at work.  I drive down the community road in Russel Creek and see all kinds of people working with their children, which is always nice to see!  When we arrived at the Shrock homestead, we were greeted by songs of birds welcoming a new morning and a gentle breeze.   It was refreshing!

I walked over to the rows and when I looked down, I was blown away at their setup.  There was this road, this tomato road, and little cars to push down it.  I have never seen anything like this…

There was black screen material lining the roads so there were no weeds, no bugs—just smooth driving!
 I pushed the little hand crafted cart down the road with two 5 gallon pails and just plucked the tomatoes one by one until my buckets were full!
This was an amazing set up!  I learned so much just by picking tomatoes.  I could see that they drove stakes in the ground about every 3 or 4 feet, mounded up the soil just in the row where they tomatoes would grow, and then probably 4 strands of heavy string woven all the way across the stakes so the tomatoes can grow straight up.
It is so incredibly clean looking, so incredibly easy to pick tomatoes!  I have to do it this way next time.  Especially since we have a lot of land to grow on a more commercial level ourselves.  I can see that if you have this kind of set up, you will be set up for success!

After I picked about six bushels of tomatoes, I thought we better get going on putting them all up for the winter.  I decided we would can salsa, spaghetti sauce, and stewed tomatoes.  We made an assembly line in our kitchen and it was really neat to see.

Miles was putting the tomatoes into boiling water until the skins would crack.  Then he would ladle the tomatoes into the fresh spring water in the sink too cool them quickly…

As the tomatoes would cool, Megan was cutting the stems off and peeling the loose skins from the hot tomatoes…
Molly would fill the clean jars and press the tomatoes down to mash them up.  She added a teaspoon of salt to each jar and then put the lids on to get them ready for the canner…
Mikey and Junior were busy cutting tomatoes to get them ready to be blended…
Mikey would add the cut tomatoes to the blender and puree them.  After they were pureed, we would add the tomato paste to thicken the sauce and add lots of fresh spices to flavor it to perfection!
My traditional spaghetti sauce!
I love using that for making soups, chili, and of course spaghetti!

Altogether we canned 70 quarts!!!

  • 35 quarts of spaghetti sauce
  • 20 quarts of salsa
  • 15 quarts of stewed tomatoes

It is so fun to work together as a family.  We got the job done in about 4 hours!  And if we ever come into hard times with the economy we know that we will have some great meals to prepare and plenty of food to eat!

In these parts, without a basement, storing canned goods and root vegetables can be a trick.  We are thankful to have plenty of cave and dugout cellars on our property to store things that need to stay in a cool dark place.  There is so much to be thankful for, it feels so good to get a big job done.

0 thoughts on “The Tomato Road

  1. Hi Erin,
    So glad you all are doing well. Our family had the privilege of doing the same thing just a few weeks ago. We had the assembly line and everything. What fun memories! We were able to make 21 quarts of stewed tomatoes and 14 quarts of salsa/chili base. I made some quick chili with some left over ground beef from our burrito dinner the night before. We had it for lunch with some sweet potato tortilla chips. Very tasty and super fast to put together. Such a blessing. Hoping to still meet you all in the near future. Please let us know what your schedule looks like and maybe we can pick a date.

  2. What a wonderful tomato garden set up! I love how efficient they’ve done it.
    I’m really blessed for you, that God provided for your family’s needs. Thank you for sharing.

  3. As I understood you have a really big farm? well I really liked your recipe of spaghetti sauce. At home we are canning tomatoes or can tomato juice. I don’t remember the recipe but I am a great fan of every recipe connected with tomatoes))

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