In Honor of Volunteerism: Food & Community, part 4

Pretty much every day now, we pick about two fistfuls of shiny red grape tomatoes. Luckily, we bought ourselves a dehydrator this year, and we’ve found myriad ways to use “sundried” tomatoes, even when they’re dried artificially. That little whirring you hear when passing through our kitchen is music to my ears.

But guess what? Even in bragging about our beautiful tomatoes, I can talk about community.

My mom hasn’t planted tomato plants for at least two seasons, but last year she had some really healthy “volunteer” plants in various places around her garden… and in places very distant from anything garden-like. Apparently critters liked her tomatoes, too, and tried to preserve them in the fertile soil of her back yard.

Last fall, when we were home on a brief trip, she sent us back with two gallon-sized Ziplocs of tomatoes from said first round of volunteers, and that’s when we first started experimented with sun-drying the tomatoes in our oven.

This year, two seasons after ever planting them herself, she had tomato plants show up again! When she came and visited us in May, she dug up a half-dozen and transported them to us in the back of her rental car (along with thyme, dill, tarragon, and some flowers I can never remember).

We didn’t really have time to garden at that point, still desperately trying to get the floors sanded before we moved in, so we dug up a square section of our yard (yes, just dug up the grass), turned it all over, and plopped those tomato plants in.

And voila!

A bounty of community, right there in our yard. Thanks be to volunteer tomato plants and generous mothers.

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