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-   -   A Colorful Market Table (http://www.tomatoville.com/showthread.php?t=25644)

Cole_Robbie December 2, 2012 01:08 PM

A Colorful Market Table
 
I'm picking out seed to order for an outdoor summer market garden. I was hoping to be able to grow hybrids that have at least decent flavor. I was also wanting to have several colors of tomato to make an eye-catching display at market.

Here are my picks so far. I would love to hear any feedback on them:

Brandymaster - Red, Pink, and maybe yellow. I'm a big fan of Brandywine.

Lemon Boy

"Heirloom Orange F1" - I think it's new: http://www.geneticseed.com/comm_view...t.aspx?ID=3657

Tomande - http://www.geneticseed.com/comm_view...t.aspx?ID=3506

I'll probably have Big Beef as another red, and I'll have Cherokee Purple, too. No one buys the black and purple tomatoes, but they at least attract attention and start conversations when people say "ewww! Those tomatoes over there don't look right." :)

clkeiper December 5, 2012 02:45 PM

Brandywines take a long time to ripen for me. They are never ready as early as my other varieties. I hardly have any of them on my table before the markets are almost over. So I quit trying to get them for markets and only raise the plants for sale to the gardeners.

Brandymaster is a 70-80 day tomato

Brandywine is closer to 100 days.

Wi-sunflower December 5, 2012 03:46 PM

Frankly you can't go wrong with a colorful display of cherries.

I thought I had a pic of our stand with the tomatoes but couldn't find anything.

We do 1 row of pints / variety and alternate colors depending on what we have that day. We also try to be sure to put the variety name on them too as that helps sell them. When customers invariably ask "which is the sweetest ?" I tell them "everyone's taste is different. Try some samples and see which YOU like". The tasting is what sells them.

Depending on your market those heirloom cherries may open people up to trying the larger heirlooms.

Sure cherry tomatoes are more work to pick. But they get people looking at other kinds of tomatoes. And it's not as hard to have good heirloom cherries as it is to have good looking large heirlooms that people just turn their nose at because they aren't "perfect".

Carol

Sun City Linda December 5, 2012 04:06 PM

I have seeded Tomande two years in a row but always end up giving all the plants away! It sure comes out the gate strong. One of these years I will have to grow one!:)

Cole_Robbie December 5, 2012 06:34 PM

Thanks for the replies.

The tasting is what sells them.

I agree. With all of the heath code restrictions, it is nearly impossible to offer a tray of cut up samples. But all of those regulations are not applicable if you simply give someone a whole tomato, which of course they're going to eat. Cherries are naturally "sample-sized."

Wi-sunflower December 5, 2012 08:48 PM

Cherries are naturally "sample-sized."

EXACTLY !!!

Carol

Keger December 5, 2012 09:39 PM

We do really well with cherries, really well. And the more colors the better.

NisiNJ February 10, 2013 03:12 AM

Cherry tomatoes:

Sungold is a wildly popular golden color hybrid. People say to let them ripen until they're orange.
I love the sweet taste of Tami G grape. It's a big hybrid plant that produces a lot of cherries.
Black Cherry is an OP that produced well for me, but some other people prefer Chocolate Cherry. Maybe people would change their minds about black tomatoes if they popped a free sample in their mouths.

Just some ideas.

ScottinAtlanta February 10, 2013 06:01 AM

Here in Atlanta, where I frequent farmer's markets, I see a growing preference for the black tomatoes - particularly Cherokee Purple - and also people seem to love Green Zebra, with its nice stripes. Red Zebra also seemed to be a crowd favorite in summer 2012.

FarmerShawn February 10, 2013 08:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NisiNJ (Post 326674)
Cherry tomatoes:

Sungold is a wildly popular golden color hybrid. People say to let them ripen until they're orange.
I love the sweet taste of Tami G grape. It's a big hybrid plant that produces a lot of cherries.
Black Cherry is an OP that produced well for me, but some other people prefer Chocolate Cherry. Maybe people would change their minds about black tomatoes if they popped a free sample in their mouths.

Just some ideas.

I second each and every recommendation. I pick them into large containers (along with some green, red, and yellow cherries) and then just offer empty pint boxes so folks can mix and match according to their desires. Some just take the sungolds, but most go ahead and try the variety mix. And it sure makes it easier for me not to have to pre-package them.
Shawn

Marcus1 February 21, 2013 10:29 AM

I have good luck with Goliath , large red indeterminate early 65 days, Mountain Fresh +, large red determinate 75 days, and I plant Carolina Gold instead of Lemon Boy, large gold determinate 75 days is a more productive better appearance still low acid ( which I can't stand but custs like). Flavors not as good as some heirlooms but more than decent and they are round and pretty. Pretty sells.

biscgolf February 21, 2013 10:37 AM

i do a lot of cherries for markets as well... all carol's points are spot on- there is also less competition at my markets selling cherries as opposed to large tomatoes.

Cole_Robbie July 19, 2014 11:47 PM

Here was my market table this morning, Artisan/Colored cherry mix, Big Beef, Taxi, and "Heirloom Orange F1." http://i.imgur.com/9faojpu.jpg

nickbolk July 20, 2014 12:41 AM

That's a great little spread you had at your table!

Cole_Robbie July 20, 2014 12:44 AM

Thanks. Customers love my sign that says "Pesticide Free." I point at the stink bug bites as evidence that I am telling the truth :)

joseph July 20, 2014 12:51 AM

Around here it's hard to sell any slicing tomato that isn't round and primary red.

Cherry tomatoes of various colors look great on a table at market, but the labor to pick them makes them uneconomical for anything other than a splash of color.

Cole_Robbie July 20, 2014 01:01 AM

Just give a sample. They taste great. People have no choice but to love them.

I'm a very small-time market grower, so my time isn't worth much. I spent about six hours picking and washing, and I made roughly $200 from the cherries. Obviously there are expenses to grow them, too, but I've already paid them, so I'm happy to get that money back at least.

clkeiper July 20, 2014 06:41 PM

Cole robbi! That was fabulous selection of cherry toms. How many do you plant to have that many at a time? what/how many varieties do you have? Thanks for the info. It is so hard to guess at how many of what to plant and plan on for the market.

Cole_Robbie July 20, 2014 06:50 PM

Thanks. Most of my plants are in one 50-ft row, about 18 or so. I don't have more than 2-3 plants of any one variety.

They are the Artisan mix from Johnny's, plus white cherry, sungold, Chang li (Chinese yellow pear), Dancing with Smurfs, and Joe Laurer's Pink German Egg. I would have black cherry, too, but those plants got set out too late and didn't produce well.

I think I'm finally confident in my variety selections. Now I need to get better at providing more consistent irrigation to combat blossom end rot. I lost a lot of the oblong-shaped fruit to BER.

clkeiper July 20, 2014 07:48 PM

I am envious! They are beautiful. well done. I did sun sugar, sun gold, lemon drop, orange sunshine, sweet olive, a green cherry ( I hope) and some 4th of July.... I hope mine look as nice as yours when they start producing.

joseph July 20, 2014 07:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cole_Robbie (Post 424050)
I think I'm finally confident in my variety selections. Now I need to get better at providing more consistent irrigation to combat blossom end rot. I lost a lot of the oblong-shaped fruit to BER.

If you made different variety selections you wouldn't have to get better at providing more consistent irrigation... There are tomato varieties that rarely if ever get BER in spite of inconsistent irrigation.

Salsacharley July 20, 2014 07:55 PM

I'm going to market this coming Thursday with Knopka, Ambrosia Red, Sungold, Gold Nugget, Sugar Drop, Submarine Blush, Jan's, Bosque Green Cherry, Elfin (if enough are ready), Yellow Pair, Black Pear, Chocolate Pear, Green Pear, Ivory Pear, Purple Pear, Black Cherry, Starfire Isis, Maglia Rosa, Blush, and a bunch of different Tigers, Blues and Bumblebees. I will probably only have a pint or so of each, but they should look spectacular. I only have a few ripe big varieties but I need to get my space at the market established. I'm also going to charge more for a full pint of cherries than their equivalent weight in big varieties.

Cole_Robbie July 20, 2014 08:06 PM

Thanks again, Carolyn.

Neat varieties, Charley, I will have to look into those. If you could take pics, I would love to see them.

And Joseph, I don't disagree at all. I'm just very partial to the varieties that got BER. I love eating them, because of how good they taste, and that's what makes them so much fun to sell.

clkeiper July 20, 2014 10:48 PM

Cole Robbie, how does that dancing with smurfs taste?

Cole_Robbie July 21, 2014 01:11 AM

It's ok. I wouldn't call it amazing, but it's not bad.

bower July 21, 2014 01:23 PM

Cole Robbie, your tomatoes look fantastic! :yes:
The market here is somewhere in the middle - most people still want a round red tomato, but there's enough interest to sell other coloured heirlooms and mixed cherries, no worries about coming home with unsold produce... especially anything as good looking as yours.

Cole_Robbie July 21, 2014 01:25 PM

Thanks Bower

AKmark July 21, 2014 08:55 PM

I bet you cant grow enough of those cherries to satisfy the people, your color mix looked really awesome. People just love the colors and the different types, the cherries usually hook them, and then they try other stuff too. Nice!

Cole_Robbie July 21, 2014 09:33 PM

Thanks, Mark. I started selling a color mix of cherries last year, and this year there are two other vendors with similar products. The Artisan mix really puts me over the top competition-wise.

Cole_Robbie July 30, 2014 11:14 PM

My table this afternoon:
http://i.imgur.com/2kdcjT8.jpg

I think I'm going to drop the Sungold for next year so I can call it an heirloom/OP mix. Another tough call is Black Cherry, which I like, but I like Purple Bumble Bee better. Maybe I will try Chocolate Cherry in place of Black Cherry next year.


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