What really matters

By Tom Read

There's just one store-bought food item in this photo, namely the bell pepper in the foreground. It's not easy to grow such big peppers here on the cool coast because they thrive on sustained heat. But we like 'em in our salsa, and for now they're still relatively cheap and available through the industrial food system. That's a conscious compromise, eh?

There's just one store-bought food item in this photo, namely the bell pepper in the foreground. It's not easy to grow such big peppers here on the cool coast because they thrive on sustained heat. But we like 'em in our salsa, and for now they're still relatively cheap and available through the industrial food system. That's a conscious compromise, eh?

Texada’s almost ideal mix of mild temperatures, ample sun and just the right amount of rain this past month has given our garden a shot of warmth leading to lots of ripe tomatoes.  So today we turn our attention to converting our ripe Romas into salsa. Most of the ingredients will come from our garden; we will use only a few store-bought items. If we were to consider the amount of labour we’re about to expend on making this salsa, it wouldn’t be “economical,” but what matters to us is the satisfaction of creating a very personal taste of summer that will last us through the coming winter and spring.

Preserving our harvest is a deliberate act of resilience-building for our household. We know that the world around us swarms with economic, ecological and political stresses, but we pretend they do not affect us. After all, we live on an island! What matters to us at this moment is that a friend has loaned us her pressure-canner (we’re keen on trying this food preservation approach), while another friend has offered us an opportunity to glean more apples and pears. And all the while our garden and domestic animals are thriving.

I feel a sense of well-being by living in a place where the world’s problems seem far away. This feeling may be an illusion, but the accumulating supply of home-grown food in our pantry and freezer are real. From time to time I like to write about the politics and economics of Texada Island, but what really matters is being part of a network of friends here, and learning how to be more self-reliant.

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4 Responses to “What really matters”


  1. 1 David Parkinson October 3, 2009 at 07:54

    Nice one! There seem to be more and more people each year experimenting with old methods of food preservation. This year, we dried a lot of fruit, having bought a jazzy new dehydrator. Still haven’t really got into the canning, thanks to a kind of chaotic summer. I guess we’ll focus more on that next year. It’s all about starting from where you are, staking out a few new goals, and trying to hit them. Rinse and repeat!

  2. 2 margaret October 3, 2009 at 19:30

    I too did more canning and pickling than ever before and almost all of it with veggies and fruit I grew. What did you think of the pressure canner? I’m not yet sure if I want to invest in one because I’m not fond of canned veggies. But soups, beans and broths would be nice to have in a jar. Right now I freeze them and because they need time to defrost I don’t really consider them “fast food”.

    Margaret

  3. 3 Tom Read October 4, 2009 at 21:06

    Hello David and Margaret,

    Haven’t been able to use the pressure canner yet, but I’ll report back to you in due time. We ran out of canning jars on Friday on what was to be our last batch of water-bath canning. Unfortunately, our local grocery store couldn’t provide any replacements. For the last three weeks the store has made several urgent appeals to their supplier for more jars, but to no avail.

    Guess it’s the season. But I can’t help wondering if a canning jar shortage, if indeed it exists, could indicate that more people are getting into household food security.

    Thanks for your comments!

    –Tom


  1. 1 The bounty of the land and the fruits of our labour « Slow Coast Trackback on October 30, 2009 at 15:32
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