The Tomatoes

Tomato sales are now finished, forever. We sold the farm at the end of 2023 in order to focus on tinned fish.

Below is legacy information on RTG’s farming, which applied to our first four seasons:

We grow for flavor.

Our first season was the summer of 2020. We grew 320 different kinds of tomatoes.

There are over 10,000 different kinds of tomatoes; we chose the 320 best-tasting kinds (also called cultivars). Every tomato we grew won a contest for best-tasting, or was listed in a book as having great flavor, or came personally recommended to me by someone whose sense of taste I respect. But the bottom line is: if someone somewhere said it tasted great, we grew it.

We don’t use chemicals of any kind, not even organic certified chemicals. Just no chemicals, at all. We don’t use any plastic in the field. And we don’t irrigate. We believe that if the plants have to work for their water they build flavor-compounds in reaction to that stress. It works for grapes, it works for herbs, it works for apples, we see no reason to think it doesn’t work in tomatoes. And we proved it the first year.

Some are heirlooms, some are hybrids, some we got direct from breeders and don’t currently have wide distribution. Because our selection criteria was, “It has to taste great.” Because we grew 320 different kinds, though, we ended up with a visual diversity that was stunning, and, often, overwhelming. But the visual diversity was just a happy accident of the fact that we grew 320 different kinds. The first year we grew 2 plants per cultivar, for 640 plants. Going forward that mix will skew.

In 2021 we grew over 1,000 plants. Two each on the new types (there are a few we grew in 2020 that we won’t grow again, and replaced with other varieties), three each of the returning varieties, and four or more on the types that we especially like to grow or customer’s came and asked for by name: Black Krim, Cherokee Purple, German Striped, Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter, and, actually, quite a few more. If you’re interested in the list, drop us a line, we have it as a spreadsheet.

We also discovered volunteer tomatoes that seeded themselves into hearty and vigorous plants, but whether they were brand-new crosses or pure cultivars, we didn’t know. They were all delicious so we called them “Curious Tomatoes” and sold them alongside their named cousins.

Due to a severe lack of rain, harvests for 2022 will be spotty, at best. Please call before making a trip of any distance.