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New Hope for Offseason Tomato Lovers

New Hope for Offseason Tomato Lovers
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  • New Hope for Offseason Tomato Lovers

    Post #1 - June 22nd, 2015, 1:57 pm
    Post #1 - June 22nd, 2015, 1:57 pm Post #1 - June 22nd, 2015, 1:57 pm
    MightyVine promises peak-season quality tomatoes even in the dead of winter. They are opening a very large scale indoor growing operation on Rochelle Illinois that promises to supply us tomato lovers with decent fruit all year round.

    http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/ ... -of-winter
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #2 - June 22nd, 2015, 2:03 pm
    Post #2 - June 22nd, 2015, 2:03 pm Post #2 - June 22nd, 2015, 2:03 pm
    stevez wrote:MightyVine promises peak-season quality tomatoes even in the dead of winter. They are opening a very large scale indoor growing operation on Rochelle Illinois that promises to supply us tomato lovers with decent fruit all year round.

    http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/ ... -of-winter


    Every hydroponic growing operation promises peak-season quality in the dead of winter. It's the execution that fails.
  • Post #3 - June 22nd, 2015, 2:47 pm
    Post #3 - June 22nd, 2015, 2:47 pm Post #3 - June 22nd, 2015, 2:47 pm
    Even peak-season tomatoes from commercial sources mostly suck, because they breed them to be transported.
    I'll stick to my grape and cherry varieties when buying from supermarkets.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #4 - June 22nd, 2015, 3:03 pm
    Post #4 - June 22nd, 2015, 3:03 pm Post #4 - June 22nd, 2015, 3:03 pm
    Hi,

    I have been quite happy with Campari tomatoes as an off-season tomato.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #5 - June 22nd, 2015, 6:15 pm
    Post #5 - June 22nd, 2015, 6:15 pm Post #5 - June 22nd, 2015, 6:15 pm
    I heard this interesting piece on NPR today about how Germans don't expect (or seemingly WANT) out-of-season produce.

    It's a real mindset difference.
  • Post #6 - June 22nd, 2015, 7:08 pm
    Post #6 - June 22nd, 2015, 7:08 pm Post #6 - June 22nd, 2015, 7:08 pm
    Now that I have a substantial garden and actually plant correctly, I find myself feeling the same--I really look forward to each vegetable, green, fruit, etc. as it arrives and have no desire for the things that aren't in season yet or are past. Not to say I don't supplement--I still buy citrus, avocados, onions, broccoli and cauliflower which I refuse to grow, the occasional tomato if I need it for a recipe. But I rarely buy things like eggplant, asparagus, tomatoes for salads, peppers, etc. out of season. I just don't want them.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #7 - June 22nd, 2015, 8:43 pm
    Post #7 - June 22nd, 2015, 8:43 pm Post #7 - June 22nd, 2015, 8:43 pm
    tcdup wrote:I heard this interesting piece on NPR today about how Germans don't expect (or seemingly WANT) out-of-season produce.

    It's a real mindset difference.

    I agree completely. Just don't serve bad tomatoes. Give me a canned roasted red pepper, something pickled, etc.for my burger or salad
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #8 - June 22nd, 2015, 9:18 pm
    Post #8 - June 22nd, 2015, 9:18 pm Post #8 - June 22nd, 2015, 9:18 pm
    I remember arriving in Düsseldorf once several years ago the same week as the white asparagus (Weissspargelzeit?). The whole city was excited about it. White asparagus was the special on every menu.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #9 - June 23rd, 2015, 5:29 am
    Post #9 - June 23rd, 2015, 5:29 am Post #9 - June 23rd, 2015, 5:29 am
    spinynorman99 wrote:
    stevez wrote:MightyVine promises peak-season quality tomatoes even in the dead of winter. They are opening a very large scale indoor growing operation on Rochelle Illinois that promises to supply us tomato lovers with decent fruit all year round.

    http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/ ... -of-winter


    Every hydroponic growing operation promises peak-season quality in the dead of winter. It's the execution that fails.


    I think this is key. Sure, 7.5 acres is big--a good yield and you'll have quite a few tomatoes. One would think $11M is a lot of money. But it's not, and chances are these investors will be asked to pony up again at some point. Delivery to restaurants on the day the tomatoes are picked? Not likely, even if they were down the block instead of 80 miles away. And regardless of eventual destination, there will be food safety hurdles to clear as well. More cost.

    I traveled to Rome a few years ago, and a market man explained at length to me why their revered artichokes were only available a few months out of the year--because the imports were a poor facsimile of the locally grown 'choke. Case closed, he said. We could learn from him.

    Good luck to this guy & his partners, but I've been in the business myself for 35 years & I've seen this story before. Targeting sales to restaurants in the 'dead of winter'--a notoriously slow time--would not be very high up on my mission statement, unless it's the only selling point.
  • Post #10 - June 23rd, 2015, 4:39 pm
    Post #10 - June 23rd, 2015, 4:39 pm Post #10 - June 23rd, 2015, 4:39 pm
    Off-season, I go "low and slow " when roasting tomatoes. They are lovely in salads or in sandwiches, anywhere you would use raw. So I do buy raw off-season but to cook. I am actually thinking of roasting some for a dinner this weekend.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #11 - June 23rd, 2015, 9:16 pm
    Post #11 - June 23rd, 2015, 9:16 pm Post #11 - June 23rd, 2015, 9:16 pm
    As someone who often gets a desultory slice of styrofoamato on a burger and just thinks "why do they even bother?," I welcome this development. That said, I am actually okay with eating tomatoes just July through September or when they're available in-season locally wherever I find myself. Not sure I really see the need for fresh tomato to be a year-round thing.
  • Post #12 - June 23rd, 2015, 10:18 pm
    Post #12 - June 23rd, 2015, 10:18 pm Post #12 - June 23rd, 2015, 10:18 pm
    pairs4life wrote:Off-season, I go "low and slow " when roasting tomatoes. They are lovely in salads or in sandwiches, anywhere you would use raw. So I do buy raw off-season but to cook. I am actually thinking of roasting some for a dinner this weekend.

    There you go.
    Yes, it's more effort and will increase the food cost. But it's got to be better than a restaurant a slice of O-cel-o on my burger, and shows they care.
    (discussion of the evils of shredded iceberg on a burger for another day -- try young mustard greens some time)
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #13 - June 24th, 2015, 7:01 am
    Post #13 - June 24th, 2015, 7:01 am Post #13 - June 24th, 2015, 7:01 am
    tcdup wrote:I heard this interesting piece on NPR today about how Germans don't expect (or seemingly WANT) out-of-season produce.

    It's a real mindset difference.


    Welcome to my world :!:

    First, let me reiterate what I say all the time on the Local Beet, being an ardent locavore does not mean I eat exclusively from within some defined range or boundary. I am staring, as I type this, at some bananas. What I pretty much ascribe to is a notion of, if it comes from here, or can from here, then I stick to that. Otherwise, as a farmer once told me, I go as far as needed to get what I need.

    That out of the way, there are a few huge hurdles that make our mindset different from cited above. Foremost, we have a huge fallow period, from at least November until around late April where there is very little possibility of agriculture without the use of interventions such as covered rows or indoor production. So, what is "in season" is limited to storage crops or indoor crops. Willing to live with that? Making things more difficult, storage crops require more work in the kitchen and then, they have all these negative connotations as peasant foods or depression foods. Thus, the demand for year-round asparagus.

    Worse, we are inundated with chefs and restaurants with access to the world and put the world on our plate. Even the chefs who pay homage to local, call themselves farm-to-table, rarely hold the mindset cited above. When one of the most notable "Midwestern" chefs says local to him means within the 50 US states, how are the rest of us supposed to think any differently.

    I dream of a world where we all hold a mindset of not expecting or wanting out of season produce. I also belong to a tribe that's been waiting 5000 years for their Messiah. :o
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #14 - June 24th, 2015, 7:07 am
    Post #14 - June 24th, 2015, 7:07 am Post #14 - June 24th, 2015, 7:07 am
    Cathy2 wrote:Hi,

    I have been quite happy with Campari tomatoes as an off-season tomato.

    Regards,


    I've actually had pretty good luck with Campari tomatoes off-season as well. Nothing close to the good stuff in-season, but usually not completely flavorless like all the others I've tried.
  • Post #15 - June 27th, 2015, 3:51 pm
    Post #15 - June 27th, 2015, 3:51 pm Post #15 - June 27th, 2015, 3:51 pm
    Hi- In the middle of the winter I just stick to canned tomatoes. I happen to like Muir Glen canned tomatoes, although if the price is right, I am willing to switch brands. Muir Glen or for that matter I assume most canned tomatoes are grown in California though, and I just ran across an article in the New York Times about how the average consumer in this country buys enough food which is produced in California to require the use of 300 gallons of water per week. Which is one of the many reasons I try to buy as much local as possible. I have a link to the article in another post here. I go to the Emmanuel Lutheran indoor farmer's market the Saturday before Thanksgiving in Evanston, and most years they have tons of greens as well as root vegetables. This last year though, the weather was awful in November though, and most of the greens did not survive. They still had lots of root vegetables for sale though. One year in my garden, I actually had some collards left in my garden that I ended up picking in January. Kale, collards and mustard greens can usually survive down to 20 degrees. Hope this helps, Nancy
  • Post #16 - June 28th, 2015, 8:43 am
    Post #16 - June 28th, 2015, 8:43 am Post #16 - June 28th, 2015, 8:43 am
    NFriday wrote:Hi- In the middle of the winter I just stick to canned tomatoes. I happen to like Muir Glen canned tomatoes, although if the price is right, I am willing to switch brands. Muir Glen or for that matter I assume most canned tomatoes are grown in California though, and I just ran across an article in the New York Times about how the average consumer in this country buys enough food which is produced in California to require the use of 300 gallons of water per week. Which is one of the many reasons I try to buy as much local as possible. I have a link to the article in another post here. I go to the Emmanuel Lutheran indoor farmer's market the Saturday before Thanksgiving in Evanston, and most years they have tons of greens as well as root vegetables. This last year though, the weather was awful in November though, and most of the greens did not survive. They still had lots of root vegetables for sale though. One year in my garden, I actually had some collards left in my garden that I ended up picking in January. Kale, collards and mustard greens can usually survive down to 20 degrees. Hope this helps, Nancy


    First, there is not reason why someone has to use California produce in the winter. For instance, the farm my wife works for, Tomato Mountain, does an array of products using their organically grown-in-Wisconsin tomatoes including whole roasted, soup, bloody mary and juice--one of the benefits of getting the TM year-round CSA is easy access to this stuff in the winter boxes. There are other local companies with jarred tomatoes and other items like frozen blueberries.

    But the other thing, i'm not so sure, even without relying on farmer's market type vendors, that you have to get your canned produce from California. I'll skip any diatribes on the issue of any supposed superiority of California tomatoes. Let's just know that major commercial product comes from around the country (and these days, the world). For instance, Red Gold, a typical supermarket brand, is based in Indiana and mostly grown in Indiana too. Green Giant started in Minnesota and is still mostly based there. They make a point on their web site of planting in May and June, sound California grown? I'm of the mind, that reaching for a bag of frozen corn or frozen peas makes more sense than buying at times, "fresh" produce.
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #17 - June 28th, 2015, 10:47 am
    Post #17 - June 28th, 2015, 10:47 am Post #17 - June 28th, 2015, 10:47 am
    Hi- I do use frozen produce too. In the fall when I can get them cheap at the farmer's market, I buy a bunch of red pepper's from Nichols, and I freeze enough to last me all winter. The problem with frozen veggies is if you buy the store brand at Jewel, how do you know where they came from, and the great majority of the frozen organic veggies come from California, or in Whole Foods case sometimes from China. I have seen organic broccoli from China at Whole Foods before. WF claims that they have problems getting enough organic broccoli in the US to freeze under their own label.

    I do buy other canned tomatoes besides Muir Glen. I only buy Muir Glen when I have a coupon and Whole Foods has it on sale, but Cooks Illustrated says it is their favorite brand of canned tomatoes. I did not know that Red Gold was grown in Indiana. I think I might have a can of their tomatoes sitting in my cupboard right now. Thanks, Nancy
  • Post #18 - June 29th, 2015, 12:08 pm
    Post #18 - June 29th, 2015, 12:08 pm Post #18 - June 29th, 2015, 12:08 pm
    Hi- When I was in WF yesterday, I took a look at the frozen veggies, and the organic broccoli now comes from Mexico, and the conventional broccoli comes from Guatemala. The frozen organic blueberries come from Canada, and there are other frozen veggies that come from Mexico. Some of their frozen veggies just say processed for WF, and they do not say where they originated from. Cascadian frozen fruit and veggies comes from Washington, and there is another brand of frozen organic veggies that comes from Washington.

    I would be really surprised if any of the store brands of frozen veggies at Jewel are locally grown. I suspect that most of them come from either Mexico or California.
  • Post #19 - June 30th, 2015, 5:59 am
    Post #19 - June 30th, 2015, 5:59 am Post #19 - June 30th, 2015, 5:59 am
    I think it depends on the vegetable. I would be really surprised if Jewel's frozen sweet corn came from California rather than a US state no farther west than Iowa. I would also be surprised if the frozen lima beans came from California, since California only produces a small % of the beans produced in the US. Those are the frozen veg types I've been buying lately. Glad to learn Red Gold tomato products are from Indiana, btw.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #20 - July 10th, 2015, 7:14 am
    Post #20 - July 10th, 2015, 7:14 am Post #20 - July 10th, 2015, 7:14 am
    If they are only going to be sold at Whole Foods initially, the price will probably be closer to $5.99 to$6.99 per lb.
    "I drink to make other people more interesting."
    Ernest Hemingway
  • Post #21 - July 14th, 2015, 6:31 pm
    Post #21 - July 14th, 2015, 6:31 pm Post #21 - July 14th, 2015, 6:31 pm
    tcdup wrote:I heard this interesting piece on NPR today about how Germans don't expect (or seemingly WANT) out-of-season produce.

    It's a real mindset difference.


    I lived in Bavaria for several years. The locals went nuts in spring when spargel (asparagus) hit the market. It was white asparagus and traditionally served with a thick noodle like spaghettoni, boiled ham, and a gravy boat of melted butter.
  • Post #22 - July 24th, 2020, 6:53 am
    Post #22 - July 24th, 2020, 6:53 am Post #22 - July 24th, 2020, 6:53 am
    A subterranean farm deep inside a South Korean subway station may unlock the secret to food sustainability.

    http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/2020072 ... or=ES-213-[BBC%20News%20Newsletter]-2020July24-[travel]
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #23 - July 28th, 2020, 6:13 am
    Post #23 - July 28th, 2020, 6:13 am Post #23 - July 28th, 2020, 6:13 am
    Before and after the local tomato season, we enjoy MightyVine tomatoes. Google it for the full story of how they are grown in the Chicago area, using the Dutch hydroponic style.

    Several stores – “Jewel-Osco, Costco, Walmart, Whole Foods and a variety of independent grocers” – carry them, usually as tomatoes-on-the-vine and in packages. The Whole Foods price typically is $2.99/pound for TOTV and they are of a small-to-medium size.

    Finding these has made it possible to eat fresh tomatoes year-round and they have become our favorite “goes with everything” item. Put a reminder on your calendar for October and you’ll be much happier through next June.
  • Post #24 - July 28th, 2020, 7:09 am
    Post #24 - July 28th, 2020, 7:09 am Post #24 - July 28th, 2020, 7:09 am
    jimd wrote:Several stores – “Jewel-Osco, Costco, Walmart, Whole Foods and a variety of independent grocers” – carry them, usually as tomatoes-on-the-vine and in packages. The Whole Foods price typically is $2.99/pound for TOTV and they are of a small-to-medium size.


    Costco sells for around $6.99 for a 4-lb box
  • Post #25 - July 29th, 2020, 12:50 pm
    Post #25 - July 29th, 2020, 12:50 pm Post #25 - July 29th, 2020, 12:50 pm
    jimd wrote:Before and after the local tomato season, we enjoy MightyVine tomatoes. Google it for the full story of how they are grown in the Chicago area, using the Dutch hydroponic style.

    Several stores – “Jewel-Osco, Costco, Walmart, Whole Foods and a variety of independent grocers” – carry them, usually as tomatoes-on-the-vine and in packages. The Whole Foods price typically is $2.99/pound for TOTV and they are of a small-to-medium size.

    Finding these has made it possible to eat fresh tomatoes year-round and they have become our favorite “goes with everything” item. Put a reminder on your calendar for October and you’ll be much happier through next June.


    I concur both the Mighty Vine cherry tomatoes and the larger ones are great in the colder months. Those regular supermarket hot-house tomatoes are just orange plastic looking things. I'll also buy Compari's if I can't find Mighty's.

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