[Market-farming] Tomatoes!

Sean Albiston lab at physics.umn.edu
Fri Feb 9 10:58:52 EST 2007

The only tomato that I grow that is even remotely similar in appearance
are Brandywine and Rose.  I can tell the difference because the Rose is a
bit taller and keeps a wee bit more green on the heel in my soil.  All the
other tomatoes look different enough so a 5 year old could sort them.  I
grow about 15 slicing, 4 paste and 6 or so cherry type each year.  I sell
by weight for the most part and let people mix their own lot.  New folks
at the market always have a million questions about each one.  I generally
give the same advice, choose ones that appeal to your prepurchase senses
(smell, sight, touch) and when you get home your likely not going to be
too disappointed by the taste.  As a rule the lighter the tomato the less
acid.   Most people come back with praise and thanks.  I sell by and far
more Brandywine than anything else, followed by Speckled Roman, Perssimon,
Black from Tula and Green Zebra.  I also sell lots and lots of glacier
early before others have tomatoes at my market, but find them less of a
seller once 'regular' sized tomatoes hit the street.

Anyone have repeated luck producing Imperial Star artichokes in zone 5 or
lower??  I've had one amazing year 3 years ago (7-8 globes per plant), and
the past two years have been rather lackluster (2 or less globes per
plant).  The past two years have been hotter and dryer, although similarly
irrigated each of the years.

Regarding tillage.  I wouldn't trade my 32 series Imants for anything. 
Single pass biomass incorporation and bed formation in my opinion is the
only way to go, saves liquid fuels, time and reduces compaction.  I do
love no till and do some living mulches and roll down covers, but know it
does have limits and eventually renovate the bed within two years no
matter what I am doing.

sean albiston

> I checked e-mail this morning, and deleted 54 messages. I'm tired of the
> tillage debate. Interesting, but it's time to move on. So to move on to a
> more pleasant topic, What is the best selling tomato out there? Especially
> for farmers market sales. If you grow more than one variety, how do you
> keep them separate at market? I have bought seed for 20 different
> varieties this year. I know, I got carried away. I always do. So, what is
> the best way to keep this mess separate so when a customer asks me which
> one is which I will know what I'm talking about? Is there some fool proof
> method that is simple? Everything else is so much easier. Squash and
> zucchini. Cukes. Eggplant. But tomatoes? They all look the same after
> awhile.
> Thanks in advance,
> Carla
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