Farm fresh Roma tomatoes
i last posted a comment in August of last year wondering about the availability of tomatoes to make batches of sauce and was told that April/May is the best time for fresh tomatoes.
does anyone know the best farmer's market (or other place) to get good quality in season Romas?
The downtown Phoenix Farmer's Market has lots of tomatoes from multiple vendors right now. There are also tomatoes at both Scottsdale and Town & Country farmer's markets. Those are via McClendon's and are a bit pricey.
Consider Phoenix Ranch Market for all types of produce. I've found their prices are usually the best in town and quality is generally pretty good. They've got scads of tomatoes right now but most - as with other grocery stores in town - are from Mexico.
rshaw, could you tell us where you live/work/shop in this huge Phoenix metropolitan area. That might narrow our recommendations. EX: yesterday, i was at the Superstition Ranch Market where deeply red Roma tomatoes were in abundance at the bargain price of 49 or 59 cents pp. If you live in Avondale or Goodyear, this information is of no use to you; with gasoline costs, they would likely top out at dollars pp and not be worth your trip.
Superstition Ranch Market
4755 E Main St, Mesa, AZ
McClendon's is pretty much the only real produce supplier at the Scottsdale FM. Their quality is very good but you pay for it. At the Phoenix FM - at least on Saturday mornings - there is a good variety of produce vendors all of whom actually appear to be farmer's as opposed to the brokers you find at some FM's. I've been very happy with the tomato quality I've purchased there. Particularly the artisanal "grape" tomatoes.
McClendon dominates OTFM, in part, because his operation is a hybrid grower-broker model, whereas the other folks who are (or more accurately, were) there are local growers only. He provides more of a supermarket experience by selling a wider variety of produce that is sourced from his own land as well as from large commercial farms in California. The variety is a big attractor for many people. Of course, the generally high quality of the produce doesn't hurt.
During its seasonal peak the Downtown Phoenix market has a mix of mostly local growers and a few broker or broker-grower hybrid operations. But in the summer, the major broker operation present at the market tends to dominate the scene.
The Roadrunner market, on my only visit, appeared to be primarily brokers, with very little produce from local growers. I didn't get the appeal other than it provided an opportunity to be outside while shopping for produce.
Tomatoes are slightly behind schedule this year because it has been cool. McClendon farms has a large booth every wednesday at Town and Country farmers market. (20th and camelback, 10-2.) The quality of their produce is outstanding.
McClendon tomaotes don't rock my world. They seem to be grown in a hothouse and the flavor is just slightly better than grocery store. I haven't bought any recently, or even checked out their selection, but has anyone found better tomatoes than McClendons at either the Downtown FM or Old Town FM?