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Old January 11, 2009   #30
brokenbar's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: South Of The Border
Posts: 1,169
Default Sun Dried Tomato Market Booming

I have developed a sun dried tomato business and I literally can't dry enough to satisfy demand. I dry anywhere between 800 and 1500 lbs per year (Mother Nature being the person with the final "Say So".)
I have between 150 and 250 plants per year. My "stable" of regulars is a list totaling about 20 varieties and I try to give a trial run to at least three new varieties each year. I am looking for size (bigger is better) meaty, few seeds and not a lot of moisture. I do some specially sun dried's, like Borgo Cellano that I charge more for simply because it takes more work, more tomatoes to achieve a pound. There is also now a lot of interest in the "black" varieties dried with Chefs telling me they like the "smokey" fruity taste (I personally can't tell a lot of difference in taste but maybe my taster is of poor quality)

When I started, I handed out a lot of pint vacuum bags and pint jars of dried's in olive oil as samples to Chefs at the many upscale restaurants in Cody, Wyoming. I have never advertised other than by word-of-mouth. I deliver once weekly or will mail those that are in vacuum bags (not any in jars, too heavy.)

Sun Dried Tomatoes are the "hot" ingredient it seems. Many Chefs are using them in specialty recipes for the added tang and boost of flavor they provide. I highly recommend this venue for tomato sales. It keeps me hopping at the height of the growing season but I enjoy it immensely. Once vacuume packed, I store them in Rubbermaid big totes in my pantry and they don't take up a lot of room. I simply don't have time to sell fresh tomatoes although I get the occasional drive-in neighbor/person and do sell to them, fresh as well as dried. I don't grow anything else. My husband has a vegie garden and he grows a few eating tomatoes as well as other stuff.
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