The highly anticipated part of the year has arrived. . . Tomato Season. I have been working this profession for the last 5? years and FINALLY the stars have aligned and we are having a great tomato season! It is very important for HH farm to have a good year in tomatoes because that is what we dedicate most of our land to growing. We use an entire 1/2 acre for just tomato production and unlike other faster growing crops that we can replant throughout the season, that piece of land is dedicated to tomatoes for the entirety of the growing season. Tomatoes take a long time to mature so by the time they are ready to harvest it would be too late to plant another crop in that same spot without having a high tunnel to protect it from the elements.
Aside from dedicating a lot of land to tomato production we also depend on them for our cash crop. The reason I chose tomatoes for our cash crop is because they are one of the most widely used and diverse crops throughout the company. Another step towards sustainability is not only using fresh produce grown within the company but also to process that produce down into items that can be distributed throughout the kitchens. Examples of this would be: salsas, spaghetti sauces, soup bases and much more.
This is the first year, in my experience, that we have had more unblemished tomatoes than blemished. The unblemished tomatoes are really great for us because they get double the dollar value and are a nicer product to showcase for the farm. The tomatoes are so beautiful we even added another product to our sales list… heirlooms! Our heirloom tomatoes sell $1.00 more than our high value unblemished 1sts due to intensity of flavor and difficulty to grow. We harvested 1,100 lbs of tomatoes yesterday and 900 of those lbs were unblemished. If our bodies didn’t hurt so bad at the end of the day I’m sure that Justin, Rey and myself would have literally jumped for joy. I’m not going to lie though…. it was physically challenging.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I LOVE LITTLE VISITORS. It is so much fun to see the excitement on their faces when they are able to see, harvest and eat what we produce. There is a HUGE educational component to this project and changing the way generations eat and look at food starts at the beginning, when children are young and before they have formed bad habits and negative opinions regarding fresh vegetables. Justin brought his kids, Jamey and Zachia, out to look at the farm. They quality tested some vegetables and we got a good review. Children are as honest as they come so we were relieved and happy to get a good feedback. I’ve asked Justin if he would bring them back to quality test our fall crop in a couple months and make sure we are staying on our toes!