Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tomato Essentials or the Ultimate Tomato Series

Some people are content to grow one or two tomatoes on their patio...others want to go all the way, building raised beds and planting a multitude of tomato varieties. No matter which style of gardening is right for you, there are things you need to know about growing tomatoes to assure that you'll have the most delicious, bountiful crop possible.

The Tomato Essentials class provides a very sound foundation for growing tomatoes.  If  you follow my instructions, you'll be successful.  For those people who want more detail and don't want all of it on one day, the Ultimate Tomato Series is the way to go. The series also includes three cooking classes so you can make the most out of your spectacular harvest. The series breaks things down to 2 hour growing classes focusing on information that is timely for that particular point in the season.  We will begin with a class focusing on getting ready for growing: soil preparation, building raised beds, site location, defining heirloom and hybrid.  In the second class we discuss what types of tomatoes to plant, how to read labels and make selections, specifics of planting including what goes in the planting hole, staking and caging and more. After the class I'll escort the group to the local TOMATOMANIA seedling sale to help in selecting plants.  The third class takes place mid-season. We'll be talking about disease and pest control, the proper time to harvest, storage and seed saving.  Then, we move on to  the three kitchen classes. The first will feature recipes that allow your fresh picked tomatoes to shine. Second is a tomato tasting and canning and preserving class.  The third, and final class in the series will be recipes that utilize your canned product.  It's a great way to celebrate our favorite summer fruit!

The cost - $40 for Tomato Essentials class and $200 for The Ultimate Tomato Series (an incredible savings).  Which way is right for you?

An Interesting Question...

Last week, a young woman contacted me about cooking classes. She was interested in learning the basics - knife skills, how to chop an onion and some simple recipes she can feed her family instead of frozen food. I designed a class tailored to her needs and came up with several recipes that will be easy enough for her to prepare but tasty enough that she could serve them to company.  To make her cooking lesson more fun I suggested that she ask some friends to join her.  She and I were both surprised to know how many young Moms jumped at the chance because they need this kind of instruction. I'm thinking that maybe she was even a little relieved.

One of her friends sent me an email to ask something I'd never been asked before.
Emily wrote, " I'm very interested in the class.  Do you have a cooking philosophy or style".  You know, that's a darned good question. I thought you might be interested in my reply:

So glad you asked! My philosophy is this - Serving a meal is another way to say I Love You - it comes from your heart. Preparing the meal is not just about making food, it's a social activity.  There are often a lot of people around and I like to include them in the process.  Sometimes the experience of making the meal is as meaningful and memorable as the food that you eat. No matter what food I prepare, whether it's just me or the entire family involved,  I want the food to be delicious and not complicated. 
In my cooking classes everyone is involved. There's no competition. I want everyone to feel comfortable, no matter their level of experience. It's very informal here. The phone rings. Sometimes my grown kids come in to say hi. To me, cooking is about my family and friends  and that's exactly why I teach in a home kitchen.