Saturday, August 15, 2009

Yes, we have no tomatoes

Usually by this time of year we have more tomatoes than we can eat. But this year, the CSA will not have any tomatoes.

Because of the unusually wet, cool weather in June and July, Massachusetts has been hit by a tomato blight, called 'Late Blight'. It's caused by a fungus-like micro-organism - the same organism that caused the Irish Potato Famine in the 1850's. The organism is harbored by potatoes that overwinter in fields and, under the right conditions, they can produce millions of spores that spread like wildfire. That's what has happened this year - nearly all the farms in Eastern Mass have been affected.

Lucky for us, we have some tomatoes in our garden that look healthy. All the tomatoes are still green (except cherry tomatoes, a few of which have ripened), but we will get some eventually.

Also lucky for us, we don't depend on them as a staple food and won't have to emigrate because of the crop failure.

But it's so sad to see the fields of diseased plants. Everyone at the CSA feels a huge sadness about it. But the fields are being cleared and new things (immune to Late Blight) are being planted.


Vivi said...

Femme Dommi was telling us about this, this morning. Apparently part of the reason it spread so disastrously this year was that so many home gardeners purchased seed starts from national nurseries, (e.g., Home Depot and other places that ship all over). The spore had gotten into one (or more) of the big places, and then was distributed widely in individual homes, and thenspread from all those to everywhere else, even the local nurseries and places like the CSA.

Or at least, that's what she read.

We are having a truly bumper crop (if the sun comes out again - otherwise we have a lot of green tomato bread in our future), more than any of our friends. No blight, however.

So sad about all the blight, though.

The Bride said...

That's really interesting. Another difficulty with the globalization of food stuffs.

If everyone had just gotten their plants locally, the problem would at least have been localized.