Tomato marketing/packaging

cross-r-ranch at juno.com cross-r-ranch at juno.com
Wed Jul 3 01:44:44 EDT 2002


Hi Bill:

<<Can anyone recommend sources for tomato containers, such as the pint
containers for cherry tomatoes, peck and half-peck boxes, etc?>>

Can't remember where I got mine umpteen years ago.  I keep mine as I tend
to carefully dump the containers into plastic grocery sacks for the most
part.  newer boxes I scrounge from the local grocery stores dumpsters
when I can, or have them save out the stuff they are going to dump as
well - I have saved a lot of veggies for the composter this way, and
ended up with a lot of nice containers for the market.
 
<<I also appreciate hearing what containers, sizes, etc consumers to buy
tomatoes in, in a farmer's market setting.>>

Around here - bulk works great for Roma and slicing (beefsteak type)
tomatoes - customers pick out the ones they want and however many they
want, and pay by the pound for them.  I don't want to get into a scale,
which has to be calibrated every year and certified as being of "good
weight", so I generally charge about 25 to 50 cents each, depending on
size and condition.  The better, first class, tomatoes go for the 50c
per, the second class ones I sell as "canning quality" at a quarter each.
 Considering that I get upwards of a bushel apiece of my tomatoe plants
over the course of a season, with little work, it's almost a steal for
me.  <G>

Other ways folks like 'em around here - six packs (six on a styro tray,
wrapped in plastic) - they go for $3/six pack (thus my justification of
50c per even in bulk for the first class stuff).  Pints for cherries
which don't always sell well here - I grow some for us for salads/salsa
and the like, but don't try to sell many.  Pecks and half bushels are
good also.  Pints of cherries usually go for about $2/ea., pecks and up
w/the beefsteaks for still about the same price as bulk for the first and
2nd class types.  Mostly you will see bulk and six pack around here.

"vine ripened" is a bigger thing for maters here than organic (certified
or not).  Folks want their maters to taste like a mater, not like
cardboard.

I should also note that bell peppers of any color sell really well here
(50c ea or 3 for $1 for green, 75c ea or 3 for $2 for coloreds).  Other
things that do really well here are onions (green and slicing), carrots,
and greens, as well as (believe it or not) the swedes - many folks I know
are BIG on turnips and rutabagas.  They can get upwards of $1/lb for the
swedes.
 
Heather R
cross-r-ranch at juno.com
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