Did you ever think about raising tomato plants on your own in your garden? If you never did, perhaps now would be a good time. The world, and North America especially, is going through something of a tomato drought. Congress may be undecided about whether climate change is real and if it really does something tangible to us. And the American public may be divided on whether Al Gore is just plain wrong for claiming that there could be any the global warming when our winters are unnaturally cold. American tomato plants seem completely sure of those facts though. And it isn’t just tomatoes either. Ian from Barmekin Groundcare tells us more.
Terribly unpredictable behavior around the country and around the globe are causing some spectacular disruptions to the way all food is grown and delivered. Look at the news, and it’s always something freaky happening around the world – a drought in Russia and China the likes of which they haven’t seen in half a century; floods in India and Australia, and an unseasonable chill in the southern US where all our produce is grown in the first four months of every year. Cucumbers and tomatoes are especially having a terrible time. Food prices around the world have shot up; you may not have noticed that anything is it different at your supermarket yet, but it’s bound to happen sooner or later. Prices of produce like tomatoes and cucumbers are likely to double.
One of the first places you’ll notice that there’s something wrong with our tomato supply chain is likely to be when you head into your favorite fast food restaurant and order a nice filling bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich, and you find that it’s uncharacteristically small for the price or that they just left out the tomato. Most famously, Wendy’s, the burger chain, has been in the news for declaring that from now on, tomatoes in their servings will be strictly by invitation only. What that means is, that when you order a burger or sandwich, you’ll have to remember to ask them for slices of tomato in your order. And then, they’ll be slicing them extra thin. They will have signs posted at all 6000 or so Wendy’s restaurants around the country until spring comes around. Gratefully though, salads and ketchup won’t be a problem. Restaurants everywhere use grape tomatoes for salads and ketchup is what – 15% tomato paste? You can rest assured that ketchup won’t be a problem either.
There are going to be two kinds of people who won’t notice a big difference. For one, the locavores, the people who refuse to give in to industrial agriculture and will only buy produce when it’s in season, won’t notice a thing. They will have bought tomatoes when they were well in season, and preserved them. Those who put in their own tomato plants in their gardens and preserved them won’t notice any difference either. As always, it will be the poor who suffer the most by the way the country depends on one single variety of tomato planted over thousands of acres. That’s not the way nature intended for us to feed ourselves. There are lots of varieties in nature, that grow in different places. Because the different varieties are hardy through different kinds of weather. What a terrible mistake it’s been trying to depend on just one kind of tomato.