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Feb 25, 2007 05:12 AM

Tomatoes in San Diego

Somewhere on these board I saw a discussion about tomatoes to rival San Marzano and where to find them in San Diego. Can't find the thread with a search.
Any info? Interested in canned and fresh.

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  1. Henry's has imported canned San Marzano tomatoes, last time I checked. They are a little sweeter than good Roma/Plumb tomatoes from California.

    Personally, I didn't find the difference to be worth the price, and I don't like the idea of shipping pounds of tomatoes across the Atlantic when we grown nice ones a few hours north.

    During those few weeks in summer when local tomatoes are truly ripe, the local farmers' markets are a great place to buy fresh tomatoes. Otherwise, canned are almost always better.

    1. For canned San Marzano, the brand is Glen Muir (I think) and it's carried by Henry's for sure, and most likely Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. I'm not sure if you can buy them fresh here, because they have to be grown in Italy.

      4 Replies
      1. re: hoosfoos

        Not TJ's, at least not the Hillcrest location. But Whole Foods is probably a safe bet... they own Henry's, now.

        1. re: Joseph

          they own henry's now!? hopefully henry's costs will still stay down =( what a great source for veggies and fruit when i'm not near 99 ranch market

          1. re: clayfu

            Whole Foods purchased Henry's last week. Not sure if the transaction has been completed or not. According to the article in last week's U/T not all stores will remain open and many of the remaining stores will be remodeled and repositioned.

            1. re: DiningDiva

              Whole Foods purchased Wild Oats, which had purchased Henry's a couple of years ago. You might have noticed that Henry's stores were slowly being upgraded with better gourmet selections. That was the Wild Oats influence. I was offered a job with Henry's at the time doing their in-store marketing, but ultimately wiht the purchase by Wild Oats, the job moved to Boulder and I did not.

              I don't see that Henry's "farm market" concept fits with the Whole Foods model, so I wouldn't be suprised if we lose most of what we've all come to love about Henry's.

              On topic: I use a lot of canned tomotoes, and haven't found the San Marzano's (found in Little Italy or Whole Foods) worth the price difference. Most of my use of them is long-cooking, so Progresso works well in that application.

      2. I have seen the canned San Marzano tomatoes at Bristol Farms and Assenti's in Little Italy. They are very expensive, about five bucks a can. San Marzano is actually the brand name and they are imported from Italy. Muir Glen is an organic brand that is carried in Trader Joes (some of the products anyway) and Henry's - among other stores. Not sure about WF, but I wouldn't doubt it.

        I have a hard time believing the San Marzanos are that much better than the Muir Glen - especially when cooked up in a recipe, so I have never bought them - but I've heard that they are sweeter than run of the mill canned tomatoes. I'd be interested to hear from someone who has tried them.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Alice Q

          There is a clear difference between San Marzano and Muir Glen tomatoes. San Marzano have a slightly sweeter more complex taste whereas Muir Glen is a "normal" canned tomatoe like many other brands. I personally only use San Marzano and you get them for a reasonable price (about $1.80 for a small can and about $3.50 for a large can) at WF

          1. re: Alice Q

            I believe San Marzano is a place in Italy known for its tomatoes, according to my cookbook and wikipedia ( It has a DOP (controlled origin stamp) like Italian cheeses and wines. There are several brands available, from what I can tell.

            I thought the sweet tomatoes I bought, labeled "San Marzano" and "Imported from Italy", were the real thing, but I didn't check for the DOP label.

            1. re: Joseph

              The reason the real Italian tomatoes are sweeter is because they are picked vine ripe and quickly processed to capture and preserve the flavour.

          2. I have tried T.Joe's organic tomatoes and I don't think they're very sweet; in fact, I think most other brands are sweeter. I'm not a fan of T.Joe's other canned tomatoes either because they all have added basil.

            1. I don't think Trader Joes tomatoes are organic. Muir Glen makes several different varieties - I like the fire roasted ones.

              I balked at paying 5 bucks for the San Marzanos, but I will look for them at WF next time I am in. They are specifically recommended in the Sunday Suppers at Lucques cookbook.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Alice Q

                Trader Joe's offers several choices of canned tomatoes, and one of them is organic.

                Hey why not...I guess I'll check out these ones at WF too.