I have written in the past about the large family garden we participate in yearly, which generally produces an epic quantity of canned tomato goods, as well as frozen and canned veggies. Some years we have overflowed with the bounty of the earth, to the point that we gave gift baskets of canned goods at Christmas. Other years haven't produced quite as well, but always there was enough.
This year, we were not so lucky. The garden was hit repeated with heavy driving rain off and on, the plants refused to thrive and in the end there weren't enough tomatoes to serve BLTs for dinner.
So the hard decision was made--to plow everything under, use up all our stores of canned goods, and start over next year.
We have a decent supply of ketchup and pizza sauce, but where this really hurts is on spaghetti night. When it comes to pasta, supply and demand have been closely linked. Two weeks ago we used the last home canned tomato sauce, and for the first time in 4 years I was forced to buy (sigh) commercial tomato sauce.
As I have also mentioned in the past, one does not can tomatoes to save money, let alone work, but because the sauce tastes so much better when it is free of corn syrup and preservatives. Buying tomato sauce is hardly an economic hardship, but it is an ascetic one. Once you make (and taste) your own the store bought stuff in the can never tastes as good.
We aren't completely out of luck this year though--the hogs are thriving and there will be fresh ham and sausage and bacon and so forth for the families this year. And I do think there is a lesson in all this. In modern times we often overlook the fact that farming, whether large scale or small, is a risky business. At the grocery store, the worse that happens is that certain foods become scarce, or more expensive. We forget that at one time the quantity and quality of harvests were a matter of life or death. So much of the process is out of our control. We only put the seed into the ground, the rest is up to the Earth.
And Mother Nature can say "ha!" at any time.