Friday, October 17, 2008

Beer Flats and Tomatoes

My darling neighbors, Ramone and Virginia, are both octogenarians. Ramone is starting to show his age, a few years ago he fell off his roof and hurt himself pretty badly, now he struggles to walk around. But, Virginia, she makes me look like a sloth stuck in a tar pit. That woman gets up at the crack of dawn, hangs out her laundry, goes for a walk and then she gets her day started.

For 25 years Virginia owned a liquor store in our downtown area. She ran the place herself until she got tired of fussing with the kids that would run in and steal a can of beer. She sold the business at the tender age of 73.

She keeps in contact with the new owners because she still owns the building. She's a landlord for crying out loud!

I was over talking to her and Ramone a couple of days ago as they sat on their side porch enjoying the warm sun. Our conversations usually tend to vacillate between what's growing in the garden, the kids and all the animals. I told Virginia that I had an abundance of large green tomatoes hanging in my garden. Then she asked me if I had any beer flats. Beer flats?

Yesterday, as I was lounging around in my pj's talking on the phone Virginia knocked on my door. I sprinted upstairs to put some clothes on and then ran outside trying to act like I had been up for hours, cleaned my house, cooked twelve meals and given birth. But, I don't think she was buying it.

In the back seat of her car she had beer flats to give to me. She had stopped by her old liquor store and asked for some on her way to quilting with the ladies. She told me to wrap my tomatoes in newspaper and lay them in the beer flats then store them in the basement. The tomatoes will ripen slowly and I should have fresh tomatoes all winter. I love Virginia, maybe someday I'll have a smidgen of her energy.

Now, all I need is some newspaper.

17 comments:

Lori R said...

Those octogenarians...honestly, they make us look bad. My son and I saw one running, RUNNING I tell you, on the trail. Once we got over our initial shock (he was rather...well, furry) we were quickly shamed as we huffed up the mountain. He was RUNNING!
Anyway, interesting tomato idea. Now you can have BLTs year round!

Anonymous said...

You can also use brown paper bags. They're good, but not as good as vine ripened.

Kathy from NJ

Southern Gal said...

"tried to look like I'd been up for hours", etc. hahahahha! When I'm actually up early on a weekend day I like to call my family (I'm on the west coast, they're on the east), just so they know I'm up early on a weekend - ACCOMPLISHING things no doubt!

Stephanie said...

Virginia sounds very much like my grandmother...she could run circles around us into her 90's...glad to know there are still people like that around...

Rhea said...

She rocks! How cool! What an awesome neighbor...and wonderful person to go to for advice. She's one of those women who can do anything and knows everything. I'm so impressed, I wish I was one. I hope to be one...one day.

Jenni said...

What a cool trick and cool neighbors, too!

Linda said...

My mom used to run a small market, out in the country, so I knew exactly what "beer flats and tomatoes" meant before I even read your post. You'd be amazed at how many uses there are for beer flats. My mom retired years ago, but still has stacks of those beer flats in the garage. Never know when you may need one to stem raisins, sort cracked nuts, store apples, stack stuff in the deep freeze, or use one for shooting target practice. Ya never know.

DesertHen said...

Those beer flats come in handy!

I have several sitting on my breakfast table full of green tomatoes at the present moment.

The newspaper trick works very well. I did that one year when we lived in Idaho. We had tomatoes coming out of our ears that year...so I got some flats and lots of newspaper, then we picked all the greenies, wrapped them up, put them in flats and stored them in the basement. We had tomatoes all winter long.

Donna said...

I've kept tomatoes clear through Christmas with that method.

Beth said...

I bet she'll stop by tomorrow with the newspaper. She would have brought it with the flats but she didn't realize you needed it. :)

Clayvessel said...

I've done it too, but I think they taste about like store tomatoes. Better than nothin' though!

Or, there are lots of recipes that use green tomatoes -salsa, fried, etc.

Lisa said...

Most of those would be sliced, fried, and in my belly long before they could turn red.

Trisha said...

I have never heard of doing that with tomatoes! I will be itnerested in seeing how this works out.

muddywaters said...

Thanks for this soulful piece of writing. I enjoyed hearing about Ramone and Virginia.

Accidental housewife said...

Doesn't it just amaze you the energy that these Octs. have? I mean I go to a Silver Sneaker's Yoga class and most of the participants are in their 80's. I am 1/2 their age and they kick my butt ten ways to Sunday. It's amazing. I too want to be an Ethel or a Gladys when I grow up. Oh WAIT I don't want to grow up!

Dawn said...

Oh wow! My tomatoe plants finally started actually producing tomatoes now that it's fall and I was sad at the loss that was going to come with the frost! Thanks for the info.

Anonymous said...

All this talk about green tomatoes has made me HUNGRY for fried green tomatoes!! Do you ever make them? Yum!

Mrs. I.