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Aug 22, 2011 06:24 AM

Cost of Fresh Tomatoes at Farmers Markets

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.