Read: Taking in orphan maters
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It was a hot June day as I placed one more bag of brightly packaged soil into the bed of my pickup truck at the depot for Homers. Sure is interesting these days how these dirt baggers use colors like sunshine yellow, sky blue and meadow green to bag dried up cow manure, but it seems to be an outstanding way to get people who never had to shovel it or wade through it to buy it for their garden chores.

I was at the depot to get a bag or two of their potting soil to give a quick push to some late tomato plants. I had bought three Mountain Fresh and two Whopper tomato plants at the garden store a few days before to plant so I could have a late mater saminch come early fall. The plants were about to be done away with because they were sort of ugly with yellow leaves, crooked stems, roots hanging out of cracked pots and pushed off to the side of the good looking plants that everyone else seemed to like.

Seeing how neglected they were, I felt sort of sorry for those five guys and took them home to see what I could do, not knowing that most of my ground was so hard you couldn't drive a railroad spike in it due to summer sun and lack of water. After getting them home, I attempted to dig a few holes using a shovel, then a spade and finally my posthole diggers.

Nothing seemed to work. After I got to where I couldn't touch my nose with the end of my finger due to my arms and hands shaking so much, I decided something else had to be done. That's where the depot came in. I put all five of my newly acquired potential mater saminch producers in raised containers. Here I am with 43 acres of land and I'm out buying soil in a bag to put in a box!

I guess I will go to any means for the proper Tennessee mater saminch. Many of you know I have a reputation to keep up when it comes to the mater saminch. I once had a popular video out that detailed the true art of making a Tennessee mater saminch, and I'm not even suppose to be eating those beautiful fruits, but life is too short to deny one of such goodness.

Each summer, I have to repeat the correct terminology of what to call those beautiful red juicy fruits. There is a difference between a "tomato" and a "mater." A "tomato" by some standards is a fruit grown hundreds of miles away. A "mater" is a bright red, juicy fruit that has had our love and care for several months and is most certainly what you would call a real "homebody." Homegrown "maters" are what summer is all about.

There is only one true country way to serve up your garden delights. A few years back, I gave out my mater sandwich recipe to help the mater novice make the perfect creation. Just in case there is another generation of those who have failed to perfect their own mater saminch, here it is again.
A country mater sandwich has to be made in an orderly routine using Miracle Whip, white bread (or lite bread as it is called in the country), and a fresh ripe mater from the garden. You can use your choice of mayonnaise as well, but Miracle Whip is as country as cotton stuck in a hole in a screen door to keep out flies.

You place two slices of fresh lite bread on a plate. Next, take a kitchen knife and spread a good amount of Miracle Whip on both slices of bread.
Next, slice your homegrown mater into several thick slices, avoiding the temptation to swipe a slice for now. You should not be able to read a newspaper through any of the slices. This helps hold in the juice, and besides, if you wanted thin slices you could have gotten a tomato at a restaurant in town.
Add pepper and salt as desired. Place the slices on the lite bread and gently put the pieces of bread together. Ladies may want to cut the sandwich in a triangle, but real "Tennessee mater eaters" like their saminches whole to avoid the losing of any juice. Bite into your creation and enjoy what summer is all about.

If you don't have your own mater plants this summer, check out a farmer's market because it is just as good to cultivate one of these markets as it is to chop and hoe your own garden.

I look forward to a late mater saminch from my five plants. The way I have it figured, they should cost about $5 a piece, but they should be worth it. Just hope I'm not out of Miracle Whip by then. Enjoy your summer!

Pettus L. Read writes for the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation.
He may be contacted by e-mail at


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