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Jul 8, 2006 11:48 PM

Where are the tomatoes?

I bought 2 small red tomatoes at the US Farmers' Market today, for 2 dollars. They were the best I could find. I have been waiting all year for the Brandywines, the Early Girls, the Cherokees, the variety of cherry tomatoes including the little berries-- where are they? I walked the market twice and found only one small basket of indiscriminate 'heirloom tomatoes' with no scent or presence. We would have had great tomatoes (among other fruit!) long before now in LA, and I have been patient on the assumption that the season would be later in NY-- but how long must one wait?

There wasn't much corn either and no peaches, and where are the melons? I don't expect avocados or lemons but I would imagine the others should grow as well in the NY area as in LA. Or maybe I am just plain wrong?

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  1. Almost all northeast region produce comes up from Florida. Not all, but most. Hunts Point in the Bronx is the mega-distribution center for produce in that region. Find a contact there and you'll know what's going on produce-wise. As a rule NYC has the finest quality produce in the U.S. and an amazing selection.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Oldempirical

      "As a rule NYC has the finest quality produce in the U.S. and an amazing selection."

      Available where, and to whom? In my experience, comparing the San Francisco Bay Area's Farmer's Markets to New York City's just doesn't bear out your claim. Not in terms of selection or quality (either conventional or organic). Florida's range and quality of produce can't compare to being right at the source of the nation's breadbasket, California's Central Valley.

      I can understand if you mean the produce available for restaurants and overpriced boutiques, but your average farmers/supermarket here is an exercise in make-do.

    2. Have a little patience, you're just not in Kansas anymore.;) This is early for tomatoes here, they're just starting to show up now. Tomatoes are a hot weather crop - anything that's been available up to now has been grown in a greenhouse. I saw what looked like the first signs of field tomatoes yesterday, so it shouldn't be long now just as the corn has started coming in, too.

      As for sourcing, it's apparently an issue in some places, but the NYC system seems to be fairly good at policing the "local only" rules so you will NOT find Florida tomatoes or corn at Union Square or the other "official" markets here...

      1. On Long Island, the local corn showed up last weekend, although I think they were pushing it (for 4th of July) as they were sort of small and not real juicy. The tomatoes are available in August and Sept mostly, although I get some nice hothouse ones out in Sagaponack. Peaches just started at Davis Peach farm last weekend, they are luscious. But you can only get clings now, freestones won't be for another 3 weeks. The melons at the farmstands look "imported" so far (like from the Carolinas?), but they usually show up around now. The fact that you're not finding these at your market means they must only carry local stuff. Be patient, August and Sept are the best produce months around here.

        1. Grown-in-the-dirt Jersey tomatoes generally start showing up at the greenmarkets in late July, and are available through August and some/most of September.

          Be patient, they're on their way!

          1 Reply
          1. re: enrevanche

            I've just finished a gorgeous tasty heirloom tomato from Ted Blew in the Greenmarket. I have been enjoying tomatoes non-stop lately, from Cheerful Cherry, Eckerton, Blew, and others in the Union Square Greenmarket. Stokes and Cheerful have great sauce tomatoes, if that's what you want. My freezer is already full of tomatoes for the winter!

          2. They'll be here soon and be worth the wait. To check what's available and when, I love Lucy's Greenmarket Report.