Produce Showdown: Tomatoes


~ from Christina, Culinary & Marketing Intern

If you’ve ever eaten a locally grown tomato from the farmers’ market(FM), you probably don’t need even the slightest bit of convincing that they’re unbelievably sweeter and more juicy than those you purchase at the grocery store. For those who have only eaten grocery store(GS) tomatoes… WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE!? You have not lived until you have had a FM tomato! You might think I’m being dramatic, but as soon as you taste a FM tomato, you’ll totally understand. 

If you refuse to take my word for it, I present to you lists of facts comparing GS tomatoes to FM tomatoes.

🛒Grocery Store Tomatoes:

  • Pale in color, hard, and tasteless
  • Very few available varieties
  • Mass produced and machine harvested
  • Travel over 1,000 miles to get to the GS
  • Picked while still green
  • Genetically modified so that the chemical ethylene, which triggers ripening, is no longer produced
  • According to the Food and Agricultural Organization, tomatoes can be stored for 2-3 weeks at a distributions center before going to a GS
  • Transported under refrigeration and sprayed with ethylene to induce ripening upon arrival at their destination
  • Change hands far more times than we’re interested in trying to figure out
  • Dollars spent are split more ways than you can count - not directly supporting anyone or anything known to you
  • Contain next to no nutrients due to the extensive processing

🚜Countryside Farmers’ Market Tomatoes:

  • Vibrant in color, perfectly tender, and delightfully sweet
  • 60+ available varieties
  • Grown in Ohio, on a locally-owned farm
  • Driven no more that 75 miles to come to the market - our vendors drive an average of 30 miles to get to the market
  • Picked no more than 48 hours before the time of purchase and never stored
  • Grown, harvested, and transported to you all by the farm
  • Dollars spent go directly into supporting the farm
  • Nutrient dense containing large amounts of antioxidants and vitamins

Looking at these two tomatoes next to each other, you would guess that the FM tomato would HAVE TO BE more expensive that the GS tomato. Just look at how bright read and beautiful it is! But, you would be wrong! They are surprisingly the same price - with the exception of a penny if you want to get real technical. The GS tomato was $1.99/lb. while the FM tomato was $2/lb. I don’t know about you, but saving 1 penny does not make me want to go buy my tomato from the GS.