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Sep 3, 2008 08:40 AM

san marzano tomatoes in TO

i just moved to TO from mtl and was hoping someone could help me with my quest for a bushel of san marzano tomatoes.

back in mtl i used to go to jean talon market and for about $20 get a box of tomates to make my tomato sauce.

any ideas on which markets i should hit?


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  1. Haven't seen the fresh ones, but you can get the canned at St. Lawrence Market or if you're in the west end at Pasquale Bros.

    1. Sorry this doesn't answer your question, but I've only seen canned ones as well (Loblaws - Yonge/York Mills location)

      1. I would check out some farmers markets, I have pre-ordered a crate (bushel?) of roma's from a grower at the liberty village market, I get them this weekend...there is a large tomato farm in Prince Edward County, sorry I forget the name, but they have tons of varieties including San M's, maybe they are selling at a market in town...

        1. Real San Marzano tomatoes come only from the region of Italy near Naples, so it is very unlikely that you will find fresh ones in Canada.

          You can get tomatoes of the same variety grown here, but it's really not the same thing.

          3 Replies
          1. re: obstructionist

            Thanks for the info ob!...I didn't realize that was the case...

            1. re: obstructionist

              Correct, ob. It's like a DOCG. I have never seen fresh San Marzano, and unless they had their own seat first class on Alitalia, they probably wouldn't be worth it. The tinned ones are the closest we get here. In my experience, for the purpose of sauces, the tinned are excellent. Your milage might vary.

              1. re: obstructionist

                The fellow at St. Lawrence Market who sells primarily tomatoes and cucumbers (sorry - can't remember the name, but he's in the north market) had baskets of fresh san marzano style tomatoes (i.e., same varietal, but grown here) 2 years ago, not sure if he still grows them. I made some really excellent sauce out of them...I can't compare it to the genuine deal b/c I've never bought them fresh in italy...but i can tell you that the sauce was pretty comparable to what i make with canned imported san marzano tomatoes in terms of flavour.

              2. If you want beautiful Italian plum tomatoes we have gotten them for the past three years for about $15 a bushel.

                Here now is the problem. Every year we forget where the place is and spend a day trying to find it. Needless to say it is usually a good day involving shopping and churassco chicken.

                My friend swears it is Joes Garden Centre.
                1923 Davenport Rd.
                Toronto, Ontario M6N lC3
                Phone: 416-656-7250

                I am not willing to totally confirm this until I find it again. I don't want to send you on a wild goose chase.

                If it is indeed the place they also have bushels of beautiful eggplant, sheppard peppers and the tomatoes last year were outstanding.

                Maybe another chowhound can help confirm the location, otherwise I'll let you know in the next two weeks.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Mila

                  I bought a bushel of romas from Joe's Garden Centre on the weekend. $16 a bushel + $1 deposit for the bushel itself. There was only one suspect tomato in the entire bushel! However, they will only sell whole bushels.

                  They have a green awning and are located on the south side.

                  1. re: ivxu

                    Awesome, ivxu. That sounds like the place. They seem to sell alot of wine supplies as well.

                    I am always amazed by the quality of the tomatoes. There is never just a good layer on top and crappy ones on the bottom, like some places.