HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >


Where are the tomatoes???

Shouldn't this town be flooded with high-quality tomatoes around this time of year?? The Union Square Greenmarket has had some, but I saw one guy on saturday selling heirlooms for $7.50/pound. I went to a restaurant that specializes in seasonal menus and there was one dish that had cherry tomatoes as an accent and nothing else. I guess I'm used to swimming in gazpacho and Tuscan tomato bread salad. is it just a bad season??

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I agree. I keep ordering salads and thinking they will be full of yummy tomatoes and they're not. I know that several farms in the area did lose a lot of crops this year, though not sure why. I have seen benefits for farms that need help getting through the season. I did buy some yummy and not too expensive tomatoes at the farmer's market at Prospect Park a couple of weeks ago. Good luck finding them.

    1. It hasn't been a great season for anything this year, and it's also been a late one. The "height" of the season isn't going to be very exciting this year, but I think we're just now getting into it. But I'm expecting them to be water-heavy and not-quite-ideally ripe or sweet, like pretty much everything else been... The ones I've gotten so far have been like that. And what it's worth, that seems to be the case all around the country this year.

      As for pricing, I saw quite a few heirloom types for way less than $7/lb last Saturday - when did you get there? Who got away with charging that much? The highest I saw was $5 and I thought _they_ were nuts.

      1. I was there around 2p Saturday

        1. ???

          I walked through Union Sq. a couple of hours ago: tons of tomatoes. I was just grabbing some Windfall greens, so I wasn't paying too close attention - think I saw a few heirloom signs @ $4.50/lb.

          1. Gotta get beyond Union Square market, folks!

            The market on W. 97th Street has had wonderful tomatoes from Bradley Farms for past few weeks now, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't charge more than $3/lb. There are other vendors there (e.g. from New Jersey) who also have nice looking tomatoes that I can GUARANTEE are not $7.50/lb.

            1. Yes! I was wondering this myself. I don't know about whether the town should be flooded, but they were late and sparse in arriving at Union Square. And the price should have dropped sharply by July, which it hadn't at all. I finally came home with a big bagful last week, but the price was still about 30% higher than it "should" have been.

              1. I'm no big fan of the Union Square Greenmarket and its prices, but I was there last Friday around 5 p.m. and the tomato prices seemed reasonable. Maybe because it was near the end of the day. Got some good orange heirlooms for about $3 a pound. Prices for local non-heirloom tomatoes ranged between $2.20 and $3 a pound. As it got close to 6 p.m., one vendor started selling a couple bags of (slightly bruised) tomatoes for a dollar or two each. You rarely see a reasonable deal like that there.

                If I'd seen anybody trying to charge $7 a pound, I would've been tempted to throw things at him/her. (I wouldn't do it, but I'd be tempted.)

                1 Reply
                1. re: Ike

                  At $7 a pound, I won't be throwing tomatoes.

                2. Hmm, I thought maybe you'd gotten there after the cheaper places had sold out or something, but I was there around noon; I guess we must have been hitting different booths?

                  1. i bought heirloom tomatoes at union square last saturday for $4.50/lb, which seemed to be the going rate for most of the vendors.

                    that's a bit more than i'm accustomed to spending in brooklyn, and i agree that good tomatoes have been harder to come by this summer - definitely less bountiful in markets + on menus - but the tomatoes i got were actually quite good.

                    i'd argue the worst thing about buying tomatoes at union square is that too many people squeeze them much too much.

                    1. http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dl...

                      I know in past years, hurricanes and bad weather in the south have led to decreased crops. Don't know if that's the case this year as well.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: erikka

                        The greenmarket uses only local produce.

                        1. re: youcannotbeserious

                          I'd love o be in a CSA, but the nearest droff off point is 30 mins out of my way, and no mass transit between the site & my home. boo hoo!

                          1. re: youcannotbeserious

                            I do. In Harlem.We've gotten some truly yummy tomatoes this summer including a heirloom I ate plain it was soo darn good.

                          2. There hasn't been anything catastrophic about the weather up here - just a bunch of lesser things adding up to a less than great year like a cold Spring, inconsistent Summer temps, excessive rain, etc.

                            1. Nothing catastrophic, except for 19 inches of rain at the end of June. Many farms in the Delaware and Susquehanna river watersheds suffered enormous crop losses and cropland damage due to the resulting floods.

                              Farm Aid has established a disaster relief fund to try to help out:

                              At least that nice field of tomatoes ripening along the side of the road in Roscoe seems to have survived. They should be arriving at Union Square soon.

                              1. xavier, I wonder if you are referring to Eckerton's tomatoes which are around $7 a basket.

                                I'm a major Greenmarket fan, and during the summer I go almost every day that it is open.

                                Right now we are at PRODUCE PEAK! Lots of tomatoes at different prices. I haven't had a bad one but my favorites right now are from Yuno, Eckerton and one other that I'm blanking on. For plain old beefsteaks, I think you can find 'em for around $2 a lb. Heirlooms are around $3-$4. Eckerton also has these teeny tiny (I'm talking like smaller than a grape) red tomatoes that are intense. They're $3 a basket and well worth it. Go early for these because they sell out pretty soon. I love their sungolds too. More addictive than crack.

                                If you go at the end of the day around 5ish, sometimes farmers try to get rid of their stuff and it is discounted. This for example would be a good time to get your tomatoes for the sauce that you're going to can.

                                Some may say that the prices are high but I've never heard of a rich farmer and I love being able to cut out the middle man and go straight to the grower. Our GM is pretty wonderful.

                                1. I've been spending a lot of time at the Union Square Greenmarket, and I've been seeing lots of tomatoes. It really depends on when you go, though--on Mondays there's not much of anything. I did notice the prices between vendors were not consistent, so it's a good idea to take a walk around the market before buying. Most of the non-heirlooms seemed to be priced at about $2 or $2.50, while some heirlooms were as low as $3, though most were much more. This was on Wednesday.