May 30th, 2019
Home Grown Tomatoes! Yummmm! I love 'em. In fact, there are few foods I enjoy more (on the savory side of the scale). I love the way they taste, I love the way they smell, I think they are even pretty to view.
These two beauties came to me via one of our lovely neighbors. She has not just a green thumb I suspect but two green thumbs and 8 green fingers! Her yard always looks like a park. Gorgeous. In addition to flowering shrubs, flowers and trees she also had a host of tomato plants in her backyard that absolutely flourish under her care. It isn't automatic, y'know, she puts in the work. And it shows.
The reason I came in possession of these particular tomatoes is not because I stole them. While tempting, that was not the case at all. I didn't have to use a ten-fingered discount. I received these tomatoes in trade.
What's that now?
It's a well established fact that I love to bake. In fact, I love to bake far more than we could possibly eat. So I try to spread that love (and calories) around. This neighbor and her husband were the very first people we met here on the island and they were very helpful and nice to us right off the bat. So once I had a functional kitchen, I couldn't wait to bake something to share with them as repayment for the many kindnesses they showed us when we were Venice Island Newbies.
They graciously accepted my offered baked goods (I believe it was banana nut muffins the first time 'round) and when they returned the container a few days later, inside she had put two large chocolate bars from Trader Joes'. Oh me oh my! The way to my heart is directly through a sea of chocolate, I swear.
The next time I baked, again, I walked over with (maybe cookies that time?) and again, within a few days, the container was returned with something inside. I thanked her and told her that while I appreciated the gesture, it was unnecessary. I enjoyed sharing my baked goodies as long as they enjoyed receiving them. She insisted on the Quid Pro Quo. And the tradition was born.
In return for any crazy number of times that I have shown up on their doorstep with baked goods in my hand, she has given me in return: tea towels, Easter chocolates, a pair of eyeglass readers that are intended also as sunglasses (!!), the recipe and ingredients for an amazing lemon cake (which I made and was delicious), fancy sprinkles from her Daughter-in-Law's adorable company, Sprinkle Pop (seriously check it out, it is the bees knees) ......the list goes on and on. And now these luscious tomatoes!
Nobody ever said the words," I will give you this in trade for that" but that seems to be what has happened. Everything she has ever given me, I have loved and eaten or used (some things I am still using) and well, our system works. Not only do we have great and generous neighbors, we also seem to have rediscovered the barter system. I feel like I come out on top of every single one of our exchanges so I'm not certain that it is entirely fair. But since she is not complaining, I will just feel a little guilty and keep baking. She always has the right to refuse. My feelings won't be hurt. I try to keep the number of times I bring baked goods to them down to a manageable amount as a courtesy. But you can bank that the next time I bake, I will take her some of whatever I made and within days she will return the container with something in exchange. Dang! I do not know how I got so lucky :)
Yes folks, the Barter System is alive and well on Venice Island.
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Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.