Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Blight

Woe is me, my friends, for we, all of us, are stuck in a predicament so dire that it is almost beyond description. What if, I ask you, the fruit of your labors, the carrot at the end of the stick, long chased-after and all the more desirable for it, were to fall to dust suddenly upon being grasped? What if, gentelmen, a long-desired woman, finally within your grasp after years of wooing and betrothal, was overcome by stroke and died, even as she finally lay on your marital bed? Truly I tell you that you would be no sadder than I am now.

For I am stricken with the blight: the Late Blight, the very disease which decimated those potato crops, sending hordes of German and Irish immigrants to these American shores. OK, I am not directly affected by the disease, I mean, I don't have blight-sores opening up on my own arms & legs, but it's still bad. In fact, it's worse: it's hurting the tomatoes.

First, a bit of backstory: in two of the last four years, I have cursed myself by planting tomatoes. Each time I planted tomatoes, fate intervened such that I had to move, unexpectedly, on August 1st, just as the tomatoes bore fruit. Somehow, my tomato misfortune deepened last year: I was traveling in August, and was unable to eat any top-quality heirloom tomatoes at all.

But this all pales in comparison to the destruction this year: my ill luck has sunk the entire east coast tomato crop, hitting the heirlooms varieties, with their limited defenses, hardest of all.

In truth I have already eaten more heirlooms this year than last, but the Blight has resulted in a much thinner and weaker crop than I would have hoped for. For me, knowing that the Blight is waiting around every corner has, in fact, become an incentive to enjoy the season as much as I can, and I implore each and every one of you to do the same.
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