Tomatoes

Author
marti223
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2005/01/01 12:48:03 (permalink)

Tomatoes

I live in FLorida and used to live in California (for 20 years). With all of our technology (hydorponics, etc.) and shipping expertise, why can't we buy a good tomato in the grocery store? Recently I bought some good tomatoes shipped from Canada - think that they were hydros under brand name Campari. They were about 1 1/4" in diameter. Is this the beginning of a change from the pink styrofoam numbers I've been buying for years? I am from Cincinnati and remember the wonderful big red, sweet, delicious Ohio and Indiana tomatoes from my childhood - YUM . Anything on the horizon? _ from a tomato lover!
#1

20 Replies Related Threads

    seafarer john
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    RE: Tomatoes 2005/01/01 14:01:38 (permalink)
    What's on the horizon is a little garden in your backyard for the Summer and canned tomatoes for the Winter. There was a story in the Times last week about the Florida Ugly tomato- supposedely an heirloom variety. We 've bought them in Florida and were not impressed, though they are better than the Florida round thing that is passed off as a tomato. If we all (especially the restaurant industry) boycotted those atrocious things maybe they'd stop growing them.

    As for me, I enjoy fresh tomatoes in July, August, and September (sometimes into October when there's a late frost) and never willingly eat a fresh tomato the rest of the year. It's a seasonal thing like shad roe and corn on the cob and fresh blackcaps off the neighbors brambles.


    cheers, John
    #2
    Tedbear
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    RE: Tomatoes 2005/01/01 14:25:24 (permalink)
    There is nothing like a home-grown tomato, fresh from the garden, and since I have an inherent bias, I favor the ones from New Jersey. Even jaded New Yorkers usually admit the great taste of the ones from "Jersey". Of course, these red beauties are only available from July through September.

    During the rest of the year, the only choice used to be those pink, "tomato-like" spheres from Florida, which have about the same amount of taste as a cotton ball. Luckily, those "Campari" tomatoes from Canada are now available at Costco and some other outlets. Not great in comparison to home-grown summer tomatoes, but at least they are identifiable as tomatoes. The tomatoes imported from Holland look great, but frequently lack a huge amount of taste. And the price of the Holland tomatoes makes them a poor value, in my opinion.

    So, if you have Campari tomatoes available, I suggest that you look to them for something that approaches the taste of a good summer tomato.
    #3
    chezkatie
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    RE: Tomatoes 2005/01/01 15:23:32 (permalink)
    I buy tomatoes which come from Israel and they are really great to fall back on at this time of year. They always have them at a large Asian market near us and the price varies from $1.69 to $2.29 per pound. For some reason, the large Asian supermarkets around here sell produce much cheaper than in our regular supermarkets. Maybe it is because they sell so much more. I purchased yellow squash and some beautiful zucchini yesterday for 69 cents a pound and later in the day saw zucchini for $1.79 per pound. Go figure that!
    #4
    lleechef
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    RE: Tomatoes 2005/01/01 20:30:16 (permalink)
    What's a tomato????
    #5
    seafarer john
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    RE: Tomatoes 2005/01/01 20:48:54 (permalink)
    Lleechef: You have exactlythe right attitude - and you are one sweet tomato!

    Cheers, John
    #6
    lleechef
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    RE: Tomatoes 2005/01/01 21:43:05 (permalink)
    Thank you dear seafarer john! When asked once what I miss most (in terms of food) in Alaska......I didn't have to think very long........a REAL tomato, a REAL, HONEST TO GOD GROWN ON THE VINE tomato! A RIPE, JUICY WARM TOMATO!
    #7
    Scarlett
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    RE: Tomatoes 2005/01/02 00:18:49 (permalink)
    Last weekend I was visiting a salad bar at a resturant the manager of the restaurant stuck up a casual conversation with a friend of his at the buffet. When asked about the abundance of the good quality of tomatoes offered on the bar the manager said that the price of tomatoes, per pound, was LESS than one-third the cost per pound than 2 weeks ago.

    On my way home I checked a coupe of markets and the price was still at least $3.99 per pound for the most inexpensive tomatoes
    #8
    UncleVic
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    RE: Tomatoes 2005/01/02 00:33:14 (permalink)
    All I can say is Grown Your Own! Excellent article in the current issue of Mother Earth News (Dec/Jan issue). If you have the extra space with a south facing window(s), you have it made!
    #9
    UncleVic
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    RE: Tomatoes 2005/01/02 00:35:55 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by lleechef

    What's a tomato????


    Email me your address.. I'll send ya some Beefsteak and Cherry tomato seeds.
    #10
    lleechef
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    RE: Tomatoes 2005/01/02 02:03:53 (permalink)
    Thank you UncleVic! Unfortunately, living this close to the Arctic Circle, a tomato off the vine is not in my gardening capability. Even with the long sunny days (20+ hours of daylight at peak) the temp and humidity never seem to sustain long enough to grow a good tomato.
    #11
    enginecapt
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    RE: Tomatoes 2005/01/02 04:40:42 (permalink)
    I have a bedroom sized garden plot right outside my kitchen window. It is turned over to tomatoes, snap beans and aubergine, and only those three things. It's good, rich slightly sandy alluvium that I richen with oak loam. The 'maters I produce are fire engine red inside and out, squirty juicy, and redolent of that rich, spicy tomato aroma.

    I can't wait until harvest time. Better not hold my breath.
    #12
    UncleVic
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    RE: Tomatoes 2005/01/02 16:53:47 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by lleechef

    Thank you UncleVic! Unfortunately, living this close to the Arctic Circle, a tomato off the vine is not in my gardening capability. Even with the long sunny days (20+ hours of daylight at peak) the temp and humidity never seem to sustain long enough to grow a good tomato.


    Hmmm... Maybe invest in one of those cheap heat mats they use for starting seeds, then build a tent around the plants with some clear plastic to retain some heat and humidity (Makeshift Greenhouse)... Though the plants would have to be in containers, only problem I see is that they would get grouchy due to lack of sleep (20 hour days)...
    #13
    lleechef
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    RE: Tomatoes 2005/01/02 18:19:41 (permalink)
    We can certainly grow "greenhouse" tomatoes..........but it's not the same as going out in the garden in a blistering hot afternoon and picking a ripe, red tomato off the plant, slicing it, adding a little EVOO and salt and pepper and just chowing down! Some things we just CANNOT grow in Alaska.
    #14
    Nacho
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    RE: Tomatoes 2005/01/03 09:46:03 (permalink)
    Tomato prices have been falling on the wholesale level for more than three weeks now. The crop is just beginning to come back onto the market after all the hurricane damage this year.

    I'm in Michigan. A place where tomatoes do very well in the warmer months. But to hear that they are still expensive in Florida is surprising!

    Nacho
    #15
    jimcor
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    RE: Tomatoes 2005/01/27 02:29:44 (permalink)
    Homegrown tomatoes, homegrown tomatoes
    there are only two things that money can't buy;
    and that's true love and homegrown tomatoes.

    I stole it from some songwriter who sang the truth!
    #16
    sugarlander
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    RE: Tomatoes 2005/01/27 09:15:03 (permalink)
    Don't you just cringe when you get a restaurant salad with a pink or yellow or even whitish hard crescent of tomato on the side. This surely keeps the wholesalers continuing to send low quality tomatoes to the restaurants and stores. Why do the restaurants bother to do this?
    #17
    tmiles
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    RE: Tomatoes 2005/01/27 09:37:05 (permalink)
    Unlike some of you, I am amazed at the quality of winter fruits and vegetables that I can buy. I agree that none is as good as homegrown, but that is just as true in July. I agree that the cello pak handball size pink tomatoes are terrible (as they are in summer), but the shipped in vine ripe product is good considering that it is shipped 2000 miles. I pick my own tomatoes nice and ripe, but they can't survive the trip to a friends house , to give away, with out getting damaged, and they spoil in just a day or two. The green ones that I pick before frost and ripen inside, are no better than a good store bought tomato. As to restaurants, most around here serve the hard pink tomatoes. I don't know why they don't use the better product.
    #18
    michaelgemmell
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    RE: Tomatoes 2005/01/27 20:07:14 (permalink)
    Since a storm took out a batch of our tomatoes earlier this winter and the prices jumped, the weather settled down and I have been able to buy good tomatoes in the markets here in San Francisco at a reasonable price. No, they aren't as good as homegrown, but then you cannot grow tomatoes in the City and County of SF any more than you can in Alaska, lleechef. About 5 years ago we found the tomatoes in the market would be "off" for about 2 monmths starting around Thanksgiving, but I must agree with tmiles. Every winter the quality of produce here in winter improves. I don't think very much Florida produce ever arrives here, and California saves its best produce, as well as other agricultural products, for ourselves. We had bacon, avocado and tomato sandwiches the other night that were nearly as good as in summertime. I'm satisfied.
    #19
    UncleVic
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    RE: Tomatoes 2005/01/27 20:37:57 (permalink)
    Watching Food Finds the other day, they had a story on Peter Lugars Steak House in NYC. Asked how they got fresh tomatoes in the winter, and they said Luckys! They will ship to you if you want to pay the big dollar, but sounds like the best solution in the winter: http://www.luckytomatoes.com/
    #20
    ladytenor
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    RE: Tomatoes 2005/01/29 16:38:57 (permalink)
    In the winter I buy the "on the vine" tomatoes...while they are not the same as fresh from the garden ones they do taste dramatically better than the normal supermarket variety.
    If you need to grow tomatoes in a limited space or if you have poor soil, these work great.
    http://www.earthbox.com/
    You can even grown them on a patio or balcony (for you apartment dwellers) and we got a better yield than planting them in the ground with no problems with blossom end rot or cracking.
    My favorite tomato, hands down, is the Rutgers. I like it for canning, eating fresh, and making fried green tomatoes. I use a slightly different technique for fried green tomatoes..it is the one my mom used. I use Rutgers tomatoes that are just starting to turn ( a touch of red rather than being dead green), slice vertically (parallel to stem..they hold together better that way), salt and pepper, dredge in seasoned flour (salt and pepper) and pan fry in bacon grease. That and fried pumpkin blossoms are two of my favorites from when I was growing up.
    #21
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