Story telling from Australia
I can’t let the week slip by without blogging about tomatoes, a last hurrah before autumn hits here in Sydney – and what a hurrah.
Here’s what I picked at the community garden last week, a bowl of mostly cherry tomatoes, brim full of heirloom varieties that bear no resemblance to the tasteless bullets you buy in the supermarket. They were planted a few short months ago and protected by netting to stop birds and fruit fly decimating the crop.
Maybe that’s where I went wrong?
Next year, any tomatoes I plant will be netted.
At the working bee in the community garden this week we pulled up stakes, snipped off ties, unpicked cloth and packed away the frames in the shed, ready for next year.
The following day I caught the bus into town, heading for the Sydney Tomato Festival in the Botanic Gardens. The low key publicity for such a quirky festival had caught my eye.
There were only a handful of stalls, barely enough to be called a festival in truth, but the setting was absurdly picturesque, with views past the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates to the sparkling waters of Sydney Harbour.
It turned out I wasn’t alone in finding the prospect of a tomato festival fascinating. Hordes of people were there, most of them queuing for up to half an hour to taste gourmet varieties of tomato, served up by smiling ladies from the Foundation and Friends of the Botanic Gardens. Here’s their website.
The queue defeated me so I wandered across to The Diggers Club stall. The Diggers Club pioneered the rescue of heirloom vegetables through the distribution of seeds, check out their website if you don’t already know them, it’s a wonderful organisation.
From there I found a produce stall, picked out two large tomatoes – one Golden Jubilee, one Black Krim – and tucked then into the bottom of my bag so they wouldn’t spoil on the journey home.
The tomatoes slowly ripened in the fruit bowl over the next three days, and I sliced one for salad last night.
The taste of that humble fruit, grown on a farm somewhere in New South Wales, reminded me that life isn’t always about the big events and the crowning achievements; and it’s not about the success we so often strive for and the failure we all have to face one time or another.
Sometimes life is about taking the time to appreciate the simple things, like slicing a ripe tomato, preparing a meal, and savouring it.