Monday. 1:15 pm. Week 10 of our CSA. Week 3 of tomatoes. Kate, Barbara, Dave and I have just finished lunch at Fuller Street. We load the black crates and white tomato boxes into the back of the truck, pull the red tomato cart onto the trailer and head to Soule to start picking.
1:30. Soule fields. Upper 80’s and incredibly humid. Sun bearing down. We start picking. I pull the cart, loaded with black trays down tomato aisle 2, picking from both sides. Kate takes aisle 1 and Barbara aisle 3. They hand tomatoes over to me as we go.
2:15. Hot. Sweating. Hands are black. Dizzy from bending and standing, bending and standing. Have handed off multiple cartloads of trays to Dave to sort for market. Aisle 10 now.
3:30. We’re still doing this! We’re all past complaining about the heat. Still hear an “eeeeiiiiwwwww” every now and then as someone reaches in to pick a ripe one and sticks their hand deep into a rotting, stinky tomato. But we’re having fun and it’s row 14!
Tuesday. 10:20am. In the truck with Dave heading to Harvard Square for market. “How many pounds did we end up picking yesterday?” I ask. “Over 500” he says.
11:45. Carrying multiple boxes out to the table for display. “How many pounds did we bring?!?” I ask. “Over 260” He says… “I know… too many, but they were beautiful”.
3:30. Only a few boxes left.
6:pm. Packing up for the day. Tomatoes gone! Could have brought more.
Wednesday. 11:30. Soule fields. Sunny and 70’s. Jamie, Jen, my Dad and I start picking for CSA. Not even an hour later we’re done. 200 pounds.
3:00pm. First CSA member arrives and selects their 5 pounds of tomatoes. Wanders over to the extras table for more.
Thursday. 10:30am. Sunny. 70’s. Soule fields. Jen, Jamie and I each take a row. Jamie has the cart.
11:15. I find the perfect tomato. A striped German. About a pound and a half. Perfectly round. Not a blemish. We all stop for a minute to admire it.
12:00. Done. 400 pounds.
2:30pm. Market bell rings and customers line up to grab tomatoes.
6:30pm. 150 pounds of our finest tomatoes sold. (the perfect striped German hidden in my car)
Friday. 12:15. I join Jen and Dave at Fuller Street for lunch. I bring a pile of warm panini’s made with my perfect striped German, mozzarella from the market, our basil, garlic, and red onion. We share in the delicious taste of summer. After lunch I tell Dave to call me when they’re ready to pick. I go home to move mums.
4:15pm. He calls.
4:30. Soule fields. I arrive to start picking. Should be quick. Jen takes the cart and aisle 2. I take aisle one and pass tomatoes over.
5:pm. Not yet through our first aisle.
5:30. Running out of trays.
6:pm. Aisle 7. Jen has to leave.
7:00. I forget about making a nice dinner.
7:30pm. Aisle 11. We stop. Can’t get to the hybrids. Need to finish prepping for tomorrow’s CSA. 750 pounds!
1am tossing an turning. back aches. tomatoes on my mind.
2am. Half awake. Dreaming of tomatoes.
3:30am. back still aches.
4am. I give in and take some advil. Lay back down to thoughts of…
Saturday morning. 9:45am. Sleepy. I’m filling out the CSA board telling members what they get. “How many pounds of tomatoes?” I shout to Dave. “10 each” he says. “Plus extras”
2pm. I start the sauce.
7:30pm. We sit down to a wonderful dinner of our own lamb chops and spaghetti with the sauce. Our sauce. With our tomatoes. Thick and rich and tasty. Full of garlic, basil, oregano, rosemary, onions.