The Adopted Tomato Story
I grew up in Prince Edward Island. The rural out-skirts of Charlottetown to be precise. As an Eastern gal now residing in a beautiful suburban area on the outskirts of Edmonton, Alberta, currently St. Albert is home.
With the hustle of the city, my mission has been to bring the country lifestyle I truly love into my present day. I do this with gardening. I do this with cooking. Bringing traditional recipes and gardening hacks from my family in the East to my family in the West is a joy. My kids love it, as do my friends and neighbours. This site is an extension of that desire to communicate this experience.
As a kid I loved experimenting in the kitchen under the watchful supervision of my Grandmother and mother who were both culinary mavericks in their own right. Together they taught me the art of eye-catching plating. Encouraging me to try new tastes and cuisines as well as the craft of refreshing leftovers to appetizing new main dishes. I was the resident pancake chef and scrambled egg queen by the time I was 8. Family quality time tended to swirl around food and it still does.
Traditionally my family has always been known for hosting fantastic dinner parties. Cooking and socializing went hand in hand and the guest expectation was one of great food and great company.
Growing older and pursuing the Food and Beverage industry was a natural fit. I toured across Canada as a Dining Room Server with both the Delta and Four Seasons properties. During that time I had the profound pleasure of learning to create exceptional dishes from some of Canada’s Top Executive Chefs who also became life long friends.
From Whiskey laced profiteroles, to poached Salmon in an orange cream sauce, the tastes and textures continued to be endless.
Following my families tradition of entertaining, food has become a social event in my home. Kitchen parties with family and friends are a standard affair, while Sunday Potlucks and inviting new faces the norm. Different guests every week mean different foods prepared in different ways. Laughter is prevalent and inclusion always the theme.
Moving outside of the house and roaming the countryside as a kid includes the gardening part of my childhood. When I was young, a community garden encompassed the lot next to our home. I fondly recall tilling the soil, planting our vegetables, and enjoying the fresh carrots and snap peas a handful at a time. Strawberry picking was something all of us rural kids did back in the day. Making .10 cents a pint for berry picking was the first of many entrepreneurial adventures I would try over the years.
While my mother was instrumental in getting us kids into the kitchen and tilling the garden, my father decided to embark on Bee-keeping. He was always the one to push the envelope with entrepreneurial creativity. This adventure resulted in a small honey operation and a massive blueberry patch. My family learned how to care for Bees, we processed our own honey, made beeswax candles, and learned the importance of sustainable living at an early age.
Present day script
Today, I am still finding my groove in the kitchen. Cooking brings me joy as it allows my creative side to flourish. Refreshing traditional recipes with new tastes has been my culinary challenge. I love trying new textures, exploring new tastes, and playing with food. I also really like food photography. Those who do it well inspire me to always try to do it better.
Furthermore, my curiosity has expanded to the Garden.
Growing Herbs and Vegetables allows my creativity to continue in new ways. Landscape design and raised bed combinations have peaked my interest. Companion gardening is a new adventure every single year. I never tire of building new layouts, trying new approaches, and relishing in both the wins and losses. It is the best of both worlds.
With this new growth and continued learning, the desire to share my knowledge is my focus. Whether it be via a blog post, a cooking class, a gardening event, or a personal chef experience, the point is to deliver a food solution and gardening solution. Of course doing this while laughing and having fun is also part of the package.
So why the Adopted Tomato?
Because adoption is close to my heart and tomatoes are a staple in my kitchen and my garden.
I am an adopted child, raised by an adopted child, and I am currently raising an adopted child. Our family is versatile, diverse and inclusive.
Tomatoes are versatile and diverse as well. They can be adopted into many recipes enhancing a variety of dishes each and every time. They are also the very first vegetable I tried to grow on my own. I wasn’t overly successful at it, and learned so much spending the last few years trying to “get it right”.
I now host an annual “Adopt a tomato” event allowing friends and neighbours to adopt my tomato seedlings in exchange for a food bank donations. Together we enjoy the journey of gardening and the reward of cooking our produce afterwards.
My story, my family, my passions, all begin and end with inclusion. Food just brings it all to the table.