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Cost of Fresh Tomatoes at Farmers Markets

  • r

I haven't bought any fresh tomatoes this year from Farmers Markets until this last weekend (Woodstock, VA). I paid $2.50 a lb. Is this about the price you are paying your area?

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  1. i'm paying around 4.00 a pound for heirlooms in Westchester County, NY, However, they are worth it.

    1. I stopped at 3 different farmers markets in PG County, MD this weekend and saw prices ranging from $3/lb to $5.50/lb.

      1. I buy 5 medium to large for $5. I'm guessing it's about 2.5/3 lbs. This is in the suburbs of Pittsburgh.

        1. In the DC/Northern Va area, prices are generally $3-$4 per pound. I do my best to find seconds for half price or less.
          I find $4 and above per pound to be odious. I once (ONCE) bought a gorgeous, rather large red and yellow striped tomato for $8. I was so stymied once that thing was weighed and told how much it was, that I handed over my money and got mad at myself later for not walking away.
          Heirloom tomatoes do not need more expensive soil or designer water to grow. They grow just the same as Beefsteak or any other garden variety.
          I hate the price gouging when it comes to tomatoes.
          As an aside, I remember a few years ago, watching a woman pay for 2 tomatoes at a farmers market. She turned around to her husband, totally flabbergasted, and said, "I just paid $5 for this!". I thought to myself, "yup".

          11 Replies
          1. re: monavano

            Also in NoVa, saw/bought tomatoes in Alexandria on Saturday from 1.75 (regular, local reds) to 3.00 (heirloom) per pound. Prices were about .40 cents cheaper than last week so we must be in high season.

            1. re: tcamp

              Good price! Which market, may I ask? Old Town/Del Ray?
              (I go to most markets in Alexandria but haven't seen that cheap yet)

            2. re: monavano

              To the comment: "Heirloom tomatoes do not need more expensive soil or designer water to grow. They grow just the same as Beefsteak or any other garden variety."

              Heirloom tomatoes are more expensive for several reasons beyond soil and water. They often lack engineered disease resistance. They often take up to a month longer to mature. And they generally do not transport well over long distances. Luckily, I can grow my own. They are expensive, but not without reason.

              1. re: Bada Bing

                Well, I'm not totally on board with the price, so I'll spend my money accordingly.
                I can generally find seconds for way cheap, and stick with that.

              2. re: monavano

                Did you ever try to grow an heirloom tomato? I did. Try that is, and for the most part fail. I got a few scrawny tough heirloom tomatoes.

                And after that I said I would NEVER complain about the price of an heirloom tomato again. If it was beautiful - and assuming it was delicious - and it was BIG, then it was probably worth $8 in my opinion.

                I think the most I've ever paid is $6 for a tomato, but I usually pick very small tomatoes because I like to use the whole thing up as soon as I cut it, since they get mealy in the fridge.

                1. re: alegramarcel

                  I live in the midwest, and it appears you are in San Diego, CA. In the midwest, it's simple and natural to grow tomatoes. If yours were scrawny, it might be because it's too arid there, or maybe you tried to use a container?

                  Re: containers: my favorite varieties need to be in ground or at least (one might try) in HUGE pots, like big barrels, because of the large root systems and delicate requirements of underground moisture and biome.

                  1. re: Bada Bing

                    California is the largest tomato-growing state in the US. It's not a climate issue. I live in the Midwest and find it difficult to grow certain heirloom varieties.

                    1. re: ferret

                      Yes, some varieties are better suited to a Southern climate and growing season.

                  2. re: monavano

                    Heirlooms cost more because each plant yields far less fruit;

                  3. At my Farmers' Market in Escondido, heirlooms run from $2.50-$3 a lb last week, at least a dollar more a pound at local groceries.

                    1. I'm in NJ and my farmer's market charges $2.50 for most varieties. Heirlooms were $3.50 last weekend.


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ladyberd

                        In boston area--$3 for "regular" and $4 fo rheirlooms. Learned to swallow prices after doing my own gardening--If I were selling mine, the cost would have to be higher!

                      2. I stopped at a roadside stand just outside DC in MD on the way home to VA from work and paid $3 per pound. They were OK, but thickskinned, and the guy swore they were from a local farm town. They did make good BLTs.

                        I haven't been to the farmer's markets this year, they're just too much for my budget.

                          1. ...And just think....When I was a Jr, in High School I had an acre (6000 plants) of tomatoes one summer....I was tickled pink to get 30 Cents a pound wholesale for them...$5.00 for a 5 gallon bucket of culls for canning....Thought I was getting rich!!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Uncle Bob

                              Holy Cow....we are paying 1.25-1.59/lb here at the local Farmer's Market...just did so Saturday :)

                            2. Around $1.60/lb. for seconds used to freeze sauce. I have to say the quality and taste was incredible, so I'm a happy camper ;-)

                              1. $5/lb for Romas in Alberta. Thank goodness I grow my own tomatoes - I shudder to think of what heirlooms would be!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: chefathome

                                  Wow, that's high.
                                  Romas are nice, but come on!

                                2. $2.50-$4.00 here in Santa Fe, including for heirlooms, getting very tempted to can some salsa.

                                  1. found one stand at the central square (cambridge ma) market today selling heirlooms for $2/lb -- everyone else was $3. a price war, maybe?

                                    on a side note, here in massachusetts the too short native strawberry season is in late june, and this year was cut short by heavy rains. so i was delighted to find a vendor selling a later-bearing variety today -- a bargain at $6.50/quart.

                                    1. Paid $2 a pound for beefsteaks last week in San Diego. Tasted just fine with me.

                                      Heirlooms were $3.50 or so.

                                      1. In the Boston area markets, 2.50-3.50 is typical.

                                        1. I paid 2 Euros for 500g yesterday in a market in France. Was a guy selling tomatoes (and only tomatoes) that he grew in his back yard.

                                          1. The tomatoes at the farmers markets here in southeastern PA are still high -- $2.99+/lb. But the produce stands are selling even their heirloom varieties for 99 cents/lb -- a real bargain.

                                            1. if you figure the time it takes to put in a garden of tomatoes the mainteneance, fertilizer , caging, tying, and watering to get REAL homegrown tomatoes .No one should be whining about the price of 3 to 5 a pound. in colorado they get 8 to 10 a pound if they want Real homegrown tomatoes(colorado obviously has poor soil). you can buy all the greenhouse hothouse tomatoes you want but they do Not have the flavor of Real homegrowns. and far as heirlooms... barf!!!! flavor and color are far from good.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: queenmaureen

                                                Heirloom flavor and color are not good??? What in the world have you been eating that's been passed off as heirloom? Maybe they aren't good in Colorado desert conditions, but on Lake Erie?? Mighty fine eating, indeed.

                                              2. good Farmer's market tomatoes - heirloom or your traditional "Jersey" hybrids are worth every penny people are willing to pay - this is the epitome of local and seasonal produce - you just cannot get this taste elsewhere - if you had a "bad" heirloom it was because of a poor variety, grower, or handling not because heirlooms are "bad"

                                                If I calculated the cost in time and materials spent growing tomatoes in my garden I would probably give up

                                                The main reason heirlooms are more expensive than hybrids even when both are locally grown etc is that they generally yield less and are more fussy - also most market hybrids are determinate so the grower has a predictable bumper crop to sell where heirlooms are generally indeterminate yielding only a few ripe tomatoes per plant at a time making them inefficient for market.

                                                1. $3.50/# Arlington virginia for fat heirlooms.

                                                  At Heidelberg bakery parking lot Saturday mornings. I get my fresh eggs from them, too. Highly recommend.

                                                  1. i'm paying $5 per pound, and they're worth it

                                                    1. I paid $2.99/lb for heirlooms at the farm stand yesterday. I'm in southeastern PA.

                                                      1. So I would like to sell some of our beautiful tomatoes from our first homegrown garden this year but I don't have much if an idea for fair pricing. Could you all give me ideas of expectations you would pay? Mainly selling because I can't eat all of these although I could snack on cherry and grape maters all day everyday, I'm the only one I. The household who likes tomatoes. My bathroom scale won't even pic up weight for em lol# #not prepared, but here is a picture! #roma, grape, cherry, beefsteak, and slicers, acorn squash and half runner green beans