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Posted on 14 March 2009 by

Tomato Analyzing Goes High Tech

Is the Heirloom Tomato You Bought Organic? - TomatoCasual.comBy Vanessa Richins

Sorting tomatoes for sale at your local grocery store is a complex process.

Several different factors are judged to reach the tomato’s grade.

The grade determines whether the tomato will be sold fresh, which overall nets the most money for the grower, or if it will be processed into canned tomatoes, juices and more.

One of the factors determining which grade that a tomato is sold under is its color. Sometimes when a tomato is ripening, it will develop a problem called yellow shoulder disorder. This wil cause blotches on the tomato and is located under the skin.

Tomatoes with yellow shoulder disorder will receive Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 08 March 2009 by

Campbell’s Soup Wants to “Help Grow Your Soup”

campbellsBy Vanessa Richins

Campbell’s Soup Wants to “Help Grow Your Soup.”

Campbell’s Soup is giving back to the nation.

On March 15th, 2009, visit to see how you can get free Campbell’s tomato seeds when you buy any kind of Campbell’s condensed soups.

You’ll be getting more than just seeds, though. As their website says, “Your request will help Campbell’s donate seeds to plant gardens in communities and schools across America.”

They have a partnership with the National FFA Organization, a group that is dedicated to help teach the next generation of farmers, along with singer Jewel. Together they have created the “PALS” program – Partners in Active Learning Support. The program puts Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 02 March 2009 by

60 Years of Tomato Heritage

uglyripeThe Procacci Bros. Sales Corp., one of the largest produce wholesalers in the United States, just marked its 60th anniversary of selling fine tomatoes.

The business was started in 1948 by Joe and Michael Procacci.

It was evident that the Procacci brothers were destined for this life.

During the Great Depression, 8 year old Joe Procacci sold bananas and other produce from his immigrant father’s pushcart. After the end of World War 2, the brothers formed a company that sold tomatoes in the basement of their parents’ home.

The business grew and the company soon moved to a large facility in Philadelphia’s Old Dock Street Market. At first, they imported Cuban tomatoes (before the embargo) and worked with Florida growers to produce the tomatoes they sold. In the 1960s they opened their own growing division – the Garden State Farms.

One key brand produced by the Garden State Farms are Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 24 February 2009 by

One Man Who Turned His Heirloom Tomato Hobby Into a Business

texasBy Vanessa Richins

Keith Amelung, a landscaper by profession, started a heirloom tomato business after a hobby turned out to be profitable.

As the Boerne Star reports, “I wanted to go on a trip to Hawaii,” he said, “and I needed $1,000.

So I thought I’d do something organic, eclectic, at the Cibolo Nature Center (Mostly Native Plant) sale.

I planted 1,000 heirloom tomato seeds and sold the plants for Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 16 February 2009 by

New Jersey Tomato Grower Fined Almost $1 Million Over Pesticides

santas-sweetBy Vanessa Richins

Ag-Mart Produce Inc, the grower behind the Santa Sweets brand tomatoes, has been slapped with a fine of $931,000 after allegations of pesticide misuse.

The report, released Thursday, states officials at Ag-Mart’s New Jersey headquarters in Cedarville committed “hundreds of violations that include denying state environmental inspectors access to facilities, losing track of a highly toxic insecticide, failing to properly ventilate areas during pesticide use, failing to post important pesticide safety information for workers, careless record keeping and using forbidden mixtures of pesticides.”

The charges come after several inspections between Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 14 February 2009 by

Drought May Limit Tomato Crops in California

tomato_droughtBy Vanessa Richins

Despite the fact that much of California is a desert, it is one of the leading sources of produce for the United States.

Especially important is the San Joaquin Valley, an area south of Sacramento.

There they grow tomatoes, as well as other important crops such as wine grapes, nuts and citrus.

As California enters its third year of drought, tomato crops may be affected. “The water outlook for this year is very dismal, in fact we don’t think we’ll be able to deliver any type of surface water to our growers at all this year, so we told them they would need to be planning a zero allocation,” said Sarah Woolf with the Westlands Water District. Many farmers will be left with only well water for their crops.

Valley tomato farmers must now decide if Read the rest of this entry »

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