[Market-farming] Heirloom tomatoes

Steven Rogers singingpigfarm at earthlink.net
Sat Feb 12 20:06:58 EST 2005


Tom,
I would say I harvest my heirlooms at 3-5 days before dead ripe, up to dead ripe.
As I go through the field, there are always some that got missed and make it to dead ripe.
I haven't noticed any difference between ripening in open or closed boxes. Warmer
temps will definately hasten the ripening. Holding them at 45-50 degrees will slow the 
ripening down.

When I pack them for sale, i put greener ones on the bottom layer and a top layer with 
riper tomatoes. I sell to restaurants, and the chefs like some that are ready to use that night
and some that will ripen over the next 2-3 days when I deliver a fresh batch. Selling 
to the chefs is different than selling retail, becuase the chefs really understand the 
food they are using and know that they need to get a product that won't rot overnight
in the kitchen. They don't get freaked out by a half case of less ripe tomatoes because
they know that case is going to have shelf life. Some insist on only dead ripe tomatoes
and I pack their cases accordingly.

Picking them early is definately the way to get blemish free fruit. When you buy seeds
look for varieties that say crack resistant. Some of them are wau more crack resistant than
others. Dr. Wyches yellow and Crnkovic are 2 that come to mind. One hybrid that I like for
size, flavor, production and crack resistance is Beefmaster.


Steven Rogers
singingpigfarm at earthlink.net
EarthLink Revolves Around You.
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