Tomato Envy

There are bushel boxes of Ontario Roma tomatoes  at my local supermarket. For some totally crazy inexpensive price of $14.99. Stacks and stacks of them, huge boxes the size of bales of straw. Bored grocery stock boys could make the best fort out of this display.

I slow as I walk past it. I circle it, once, twice. I could come back with the big shopping buggy, I tell myself. A bushel (53 pounds) would fit in the big cart.

I could make sauce. Oh, yes, sauce. And dry some, for the winter.

Wandering off to the canned vegetables aisle, I price the cans of tomatoes that I usually use for the soups, stews, pasta sauces and pots of chili I make with regularity throughout the year. It would be so much cheaper. And fresher. And tastier…

Who am I kidding?

It’s not to be. There just isn’t enough space. Okay… I’m not willing to make enough space. Certainly, corners could be found to stash jars of tomato sauce. Under the sofa, at the backs of already stuffed closets. We could scatter them around the apartment like little easter eggs, coming across them with a squeal of delight during a cleaning spree or when lying prone in front of the furniture while retrieving a ball the dogs had lost control of.

But these is no official room for jars of tomato sauce. I’ve used up all the pantry shelf space making jam. My inclination would be to freeze the stuff anyway, but I’ve got 5 chickens coming from my friend Jeff’s dad’s farm and last year they got to 10 pounds each before he slaughtered them. And my freezer, while still a free-standing chest freezer, is wee. And I haven’t even canned pears yet. No room in the freezer for tomato sauce.

And no room for the empty jars in the off-season.

I know some people do it. They find space because it’s important to them. It should be important to me too, I think. But the thought of rearranging our storage closet; of pulling out old boxes of photo albums and Christmas wrapping and plant pots to find a place for tomato sauce… maybe next year. We’ll clean the closet, purge some stuff we don’t need and clear a foot or two of shelf space for lovely, luscious sauce made from bright local Roma tomatoes.

But this year, all I can do is dream. And watch with envy as the wee little Portuguese and Italian ladies, who don’t look as if they weigh the equivalent of a bushel themselves, carry off cartons of tomatoes to make sauce.