Our Strathma Patch
Tomatoes, Fried, Green
Cut six large green tomatoes in slices one-eighth of an inch in thickness. Beat the yolk of an egg with a tablespoonful of cold water, sprinkle salt and pepper over the tomatoes. Dip first in the egg, then in fine bread crumbs. Fry in butter brown on both sides, and serve with a gravy made as follows. Rub one tablespoonful of flour with two tablespoonfuls of butter. When well creamed brown in a pan, add one-half pint of boiling milk, stir steadily till it begins to thicken, then add teaspoonful of salt and pour over the tomatoes.
Throughout history, gardening and the ability to grow one’s food has been essential to family survival. When settlers first travelled out West, they did so quickly and with little information on survival techniques. Gardening was essential to families, as accessing food was limited, especially prior to the development of the railroad. Families would attempt to grow a variety of food in the hopes that they would have enough produce to last them throughout Canada’s harsh winters. If they planned accordingly and the weather was in their favour, families would be lucky to eat more than just potatoes and bread for eight months straight.
For many of our residents, large gardens and canning were very common. As Sheila and Bill Kilford described,
“[Bill] We had a big garden, and I do mean a big garden, and we had… [Sheila] Tons of asparagus. We raised asparagus and picked it until we looked like asparagus.”
Gardening has never been an easy job, but families relied on them. In most cases, everyone contributed to the maintenance of the garden, including children. As Raymond Sheers recalled,
“[Mother] always had a big garden cause half our living come out of the garden, and there was always a lot of work to be done, hoeing and pulling weeds and that sort of thing which we had to help her.”
So, what’s the point?
Here at Strathma, we strive to learn more about settler life, specifically what life was like for our residents. Since food is such a big part of life, what better way to learn more about settlers than to grow and prepare the food they would have eaten? So, we’ve decided to start the Strathma Patch, which will allow us to grow some of the common foods Strathcona County residents would have grown and continue to grow today.
For Strathma Patch’s first season, we’ve decided to grow and learn more about the following vegetables:
As you start your gardens this spring, we hope this Fried Green Tomatoes recipe becomes useful. This recipe allows you to start enjoying your garden produce a little earlier than usual. We look forward to providing you with updates throughout the summer about our garden, including why we planted certain vegetables together, things we found to be beneficial, and things that were not.