January 30, 2007

Backyard Beauties

Backyard Beauties

These 25 acres of greenhouses are in Madison, ME, not far from our previous home in Belgrade. I hope this venture is an economic success because it makes sense and capitalizes on the 'Buy Local/Eat Local' momentum. I hope I can try the tomatoes soon at Hannafords.

I grew up on a 'truck garden' farm, as they were called then, in Massachusetts which had four large greenhouses heated by steam generated by coal. The farm had apple orchards and raised all types of vegetables in season and tomatoes in the greenhouses for the Boston market.

I remember vividly the tomatoes were grown on bamboo canes held vertically by horizontal wires in raised beds of earth constructed of cypress (because the wood would not rot) boards. When picked, they were packaged in gray paperboard boxes that held about a dozen each. These boxes were packed in crates for shipping to Boston by truck. I remember being allowed to' help' build the wooden boxes with my uncle. I can still smell that damp, rough boxwood that came in heavy bundles.

My uncle, John, was the farm manager and we lived in a second story apartment (he lived downstairs) in a large house on the farm. The Metcalfe Farm long ago succumbed to the pressures of population and the land became house lots. I lived there until I was 12 years old.
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