Shoulda asked Sheila: A Winter Tomato tale

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by: 

Sheila McCrindle and Kate Aley


Shoulda Asked Sheila takes your burning food issues of the day, chops 'em up and serves 'em hot and satisfying

Kate asked: Sheila, what is with these tomatoes? The seeds have germinated inside the fruit! Ugh!

Sheila replied: Yikes, where did that come from? Did you buy those?

K: Yes, from Costco! What does it mean? Some of them had even developed the first two leaves; I was briefly considering putting them in a peat pot to see what happened next! But I fed them to the chickens instead.

 S: I found this at Treehugger: “As creepy as it looks this isn't all that uncommon. This condition is called vivipary, and it's prone to happen in some tomato cultivar more than others. When the natural hormone, abscisic acid, is reduced in an overripe tomato the mature seeds can break dormancy and sprout. The moist environment inside of a tomato allows the seedlings to grow for a while without drying out.” Costco is a good company and I have no quarrel with it. The answer to the problem is to basically avoid buying tomatoes out of season or pay premium for greenhouse ones.

K: Are tomatoes one of those types of produce that gets picked green and sprayed with some kind of unmentionable chemical so it stays in good shape when it’s travelling? Can they even do that anymore?

S: The tomatoes we get in the shops have been bred for hardiness and long shelf-life. Producers need them to be tough enough to travel long distances and still look lovely and blemish-free when they sit in pyramids at the grocery store. Sadly, the resulting tomatoes taste a lot like wet napkins. I came across what, in my opinion, is a scandalous situation in an article in Slate which describes the efforts of a tomato breeder to come up with a tasty, easily grown tomato. He succeeded, but the tomato sellers want nothing to do with it. Their point - and it is probably a valid one - is that the tomato-buying public only care about price.

K: So, you are saying that if I want what tastes like a real tomato, I need to wait ‘til real tomatoes can be grown?

S: The short answer is: grow your own. Or at least wait until they are in season.

K: And tomatoes do grow here.

S: They do. And the payoff for planting and harvesting your own is well worth it. The other option is to find local market gardeners who are growing delicious varieties and enthusiastically purchase from them. But really, if you grow only one plant in your vegetable garden, make it a tomato.

K: But what if I need a tomato in the frozen depths of February?

S. I’m not going to be a hard-ass about seasonality; more sanctimonious guff has been spouted on this subject than just about any other. Sometimes you really do just need a fresh tomato. The Manotick greenhouse producer Sun Tech produces a greenhouse grown tomato that is not too bad. Their small tomatoes are quite nice indeed. In fact, I have found that most small, sweet grape-style tomatoes are tasty enough over the winter months, although not really equalling their fresh picked cousins.

K: Thanks for your help. Have to go. I feel a tomato sandwich calling.

The take away message: Get off your lawn chairs and grow yourself some tomatoes this year.

Sheila and Kate would love to argue over your food-related queries. Leave your questions in a comment box... or just ring us up.

 

Nos autres nouvelles / Our other News

The beginning of everything: "Origins" watercolour show opens

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by: 

Kate Aley

You are invited to an extraordinarily moving exhibition of new work by renowned Luskville painter, Ruby Ewen.

Entirely painted in watercolour, the pieces immerse the viewer into multiple magical realms of creationism, imagination and classic myth.

Show runs: Friday, June 22 (opening event, 6 -- 8 p.m.) to July 22, 2018

Site: Stone School Gallery, 28 Mill St., Portage du Fort.

Cooking meets trucking at new restaurant

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by: 

Kate Aley

After two years of extensive renovations, Au Coin du Camionneur, also known as Trucker's Corner, opened in Luskville on Sunday June 17. 

Owners Benoit Galipeau and Robert Bergeron have completely reconfigured the building at the corner of the Eardley-Masham Road and Highway 148. New lighting, comfortable seating and large windows that open onto a breezy patio create an inviting ambience.

Building a new future for Pontiac with slaughterhouse project

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by: 

Kate Aley

After five years of planning, construction has now started on the Les Abattoir les Viandes du Pontiac. Set on five acres on the outskirts of Shawville, the slaughterhouse is the brainchild of Quyon entrepreneur Alain Lauzon and three partners, Sofian Elktrousie, Ibrama Diagne and promoter Gilles Langlois.

“We are aiming to be open by end of October,” said Lauzon last week, as he watched forms being set for more concrete to be poured.

Turtle S.O.S.: Save Our Shells!

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Trouble in paradise.

It's June and that means those crazy turtles are once again roaming dirt side roads and busy highways alike; intent on finding mates, water and good nesting places as they have always done, paying no mind to the deadly wheels zooming past. I stop for a lot of turtles at this time of the year and so far we have all lived to fight another day. However I have never seen a turtle stuck in the bone-dry and baking-hot rink at the Luskville Community Centre before. Bad turtle terrain for sure.

Open letter to the Municipality of Pontiac recognizing the work of our municipal firefighters

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by: 

Sandra Barber

To whom it may concern:

Re: Recognition of volunteer Firefighters

While sitting at our dining table enjoying our first coffee of the day on Sunday, May 20 at 6 a.m., my husband and I both heard a very loud “thunk” and wondered what the heck it was. Curiosity motivated my husband to investigate further; he checked our basement, nothing amiss. Checked the living room located on a lower level, noticed a man sitting outside on the guard rail.

Kickin' it: Pontiac youth get into soccer

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by: 

Kate Aley

Some might say that young people are glued to their screens all day and all night. But that's harder to say when so many bright young people are running, kicking, playing and laughing in Luskville every Monday evening.
Community soccer classes started up on Tuesday, May 1st at the Luskville Recreational Park. The two- to four year-olds play in the softball field. The older group, aged five and up, play on the soccer field to the north.

How do rural communities comply with Quebec's Organic Strategy?

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by: 

Kevin Brady

Current Situation:

The Québec residual materials management strategy includes a progressive reduction and an eventual a 'ban' of organic material from municipal landfills by 2020. Municipalities that comply with the policy are eligible for funding to help offset the costs. As with the Municipality of Pontiac, many municipalities have chosen to pass resolutions to initiate door-to-door collection, with costs paid for by the residents.

Get ready, get set, get out: disaster preparedness in a bag

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by: 

Kate Aley

Remember this?

As the Pontiac watches epic levels of flooding in both New Brunswick and B.C. and considers our own possible return to inundation, it's time to let paranoia rear its helpful head and get ready to get out of the house. The concept behind having a so-called Go Bag is to have ready everything you might need to survive, out-of-doors, for about 72 hours... until help arrives or the zombies get you.

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