There are many things i’d like to write but we would be here for way too long. I’ll pick a few and hopefully it’ll grab the essence.

It actually began the night before when the first hundred kilos of tomatoes were delivered, I was preparing the house for twenty odd people and realised we had the opportunity to have a quarter of the tomatoes prepared for passata making at 8am the next morning. There were five of us in the house, one on quality control, removing any bad bits, and the other four knife in hand, halving. We made short work of 100kg and it brought a smile to my face to see a group approach a task with excitement and feel the satisfaction of utilising a glut of produce. It made me think of what it would be like for a hunter gatherer community to bring back a large animal. The community would have to act swiftly to ensure no meat is lost to maggots and each section allocated to different uses. This part to the family who make a great stew and that part to the family who know how to prepare the organs. We weren’t elbow deep in blood, though their was a lot of tomato juice.

The morning started early, the first two pots were on from 4:30 and the remaining 300 kilos were picked up at six from Carlton Primary Farmer’s Market. Daylight savings hadn’t clicked over yet so all of this was in the dark, it felt foreign but it took me back to when I would help my Nanna and Nannu at these early hours.

The group came together just after 8, eager to jump into it, nibbles were served along with coffee and a tour of the process began. Once stations were allocated we came to our first hurdle. The hundred kilos delivered the night before were extremely watery. At first there were whispers, ‘the new machine wasn’t processing them properly,’ ‘I think the tomatoes are overcooked,’ ‘how much salt was used?’ but after a few tests and the next pot of tomatoes from the farmers market started flowing through the tomatoes processor we confirmed it was the tomatoes. Something i’d never come across, I still don’t know the reason or how I’d determine if a tomato I buy in the future will be watery but something to be wary of in the future.

Fresh pasta was being made from about 11 with everyone moving between sauce making and the flour bowl. Excitement filled the air, lunch was on it’s way. A friend who’d prepped for a bunch of this size before took the reigns and brought the ship home. With a couple of sauces and kilos of fresh pasta, bowls were filled – followed by stomachs.

The biggest takeaway was, when everyone was working on a task, how conversation flowed and ideas formed. It was beautiful to see a community shape in mere minutes.

Thank you all for coming and I hope your passata dreams were fulfilled.

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