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Old June 11, 2015   #16
Misfit
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Lots of GREAT advice here AZ, nothing I would disagree with. I'll add my 2 cents; take it for what it's worth...

- Plan a face to face with the owner. Get more details on how he'll use your product, and maybe a general timeline. Face time with clients is very important in farm to table. Think of it more, as a partnership.

- Generally commercial tomatoes are sold by the case, 5x5, 5x6, bulk, etc. Cherries mostly come on flats. Heirlooms (for you) because of their different sizes would be better marketed in bulk case size, or maybe also half case as well. Bulk case weight is usually 25lbs. With out knowing the size of his restaurant (number of seats), and carryout business; I'll guess on the low side and say he'll need 25-50pds. a week.

- Offer herbs to go along with your toms.

- Network with other growers (suppliers) in your area, who are doing the same thing. Just like Tomatoville, people of like minds generally are willing to share their accomplishments, and hurdles along their path.

Looks to me like you've done your homework, and have long and short term goals, which is a great start. Best of luck in your endeavors, and happy growing!

-Jimmy
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Old June 11, 2015   #17
Dewayne mater
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Worth, I agree with you. My favorite pizzas are Neopolitan style and I'm lucky to have this one within 2 miles of my house. http://cavallipizza.com/apn-certification

They use the ovens you mention and they use a specific type of flour that has some unique properties. The certified places only use San Marzano tomatoes, but, if you build the oven, you can put in whatever you want!
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Old June 11, 2015   #18
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Originally Posted by Dewayne mater View Post
Worth, I agree with you. My favorite pizzas are Neopolitan style and I'm lucky to have this one within 2 miles of my house. http://cavallipizza.com/apn-certification

They use the ovens you mention and they use a specific type of flour that has some unique properties. The certified places only use San Marzano tomatoes, but, if you build the oven, you can put in whatever you want!
I use semolina flour a bunch, it might be the wrong flour but I like it.

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Old June 11, 2015   #19
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I think I might be the worlds most picky pizza person.
Austin Texas of all places has some of the best out of the way places to eat pizza.
You just have to know where to look.
And they sure as the devil aren't nation wide chains.
I want a wood fired brick oven so bad at my place I dont know what to do.
I found a website in Italy that gave me all of the information I need to build one.
And wouldn't you know it the place that makes the right fire bricks I need is 20 miles from my house.
For tomatoes I like to use sun dried tomatoes if and when I can.

Worth
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For some reason I think you are a handy guy. They are not hard to build. There are plenty of sites that will show you how to do it. It may be easier to make a rectangular oven, which two of my places have. Mine are 6 x 8 interior dimensions. Put a pork shoulder over night..... bake bread............you get my point
You can use plywood to create the arch
Look it up. If I can be of any help let me know. Its just bricks and some 3000 degree glue and fiber frax insulation

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Old June 11, 2015   #20
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Worth
For some reason I think you are a handy guy. They are not hard to build. There are plenty of sites that will show you how to do it. It may be easier to make a rectangular oven, which two of my places have. Mine are 6 x 8 interior dimensions. Put a pork shoulder over night..... bake bread............you get my point
You can use plywood to create the arch
Look it up. If I can be of any help let me know. Its just bricks and some 3000 degree glue and fiber frax insulation

Old chef
Old chef thanks, I looked at your site and asked a friend of mine that was raised in Brooklyn about them.
He has ate there and said they were great.
He is a picky guy.
This is the site I looked at they sell them and tell you how to make them.
I figured I would use the refractory cement and after it set up burn or knock the forms out.
Again thanks your kind comments about the things I do mean a lot to me.

http://www.fornobravo.com/pompeii_ov..._contents.html
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Last edited by Worth1; June 11, 2015 at 04:41 PM.
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Old June 14, 2015   #21
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Misfit- I just noticed your response (long week followed by a long weekend). Thank you for that good advice! Also, great idea on the herbs. I usually grow basil, among other cooking herbs, so great idea... I've done lots of talking so now I need to do more face-to-face meetings with these folks. It's so exciting to think that I might actually be selling to restaurants soon.

I live on half an acre in the middle of the city with a pool in the middle of the backyard, then surrounded by grass, then decorative rock. I've added raised beds on top of the rock and could probably just continue them around... I need a farm though, a real piece of dirt that I could grow hundreds of varieties at once. My front yard is 60 ft long by 38 feet deep. All grass. If I have to stay here, I plan on turning the front into a garden but not sure what my city neighbors would think of this?? Lol
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Old June 14, 2015   #22
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You desert climate would be well-suited for a large hydroponic setup. Hydro makes the most sense in the desert. I can do it here, but my soil is so good, hydro can't compete.
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Old June 14, 2015   #23
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Your pool can go the gardenpool.org route and you'd have increased production.
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Old June 15, 2015   #24
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If I may chime in, we grow primarily for restaurants. It sounds as if your initial customer understands the tomatoes are seasonal and is more interested in quality than anything. Make sure this is the case and if so deliver quality product and service. They will pay your price. then they will tell other chefs. They may be highly competitive but they talk. (we just had an industry wine tasting here yesterday. I had the chef owner of the #7 Japanese restaurant hanging out in my kitchen with the 2 chefs prepping food from our farm and another so they do talk). We sell by the pound and we tell the chefs upfront. Definitely look at the unusual, rare types but pay attention to flavor. Definitely grow other veggies, don't put all your eggs in the mater basket. you might want to research chefs garden and learn there story.
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Old June 16, 2015   #25
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This thread is the sound of a beloved hobby dying. I should know I have systematically assassinated all my favorite hobbies by "making money at them".
Repeat after me
I will not sell tomatoes i will not sell tomatoes......
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Old June 17, 2015   #26
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ColeRobbie- I don't know squat about hydroponics... I would think it would be too hot for it during the summer? Then again, I don't know anything about it...

Gerardo- Do you mean I should turn my pool into a garden?! Lol- It's going to be 115 today and its already 92 at 5:30 am... I think not!! Lol

Reddeheddefarm- Thank you for that advice. Yeah I'm certain he knows his tomatoes and is looking for quality and looks. Curious how many plants you have and about how many lbs per week you sell? You can PM me if its easier

Nematode- Lol!! I keep selling them to neighbors, friends, the occasional drive by, so I cant imagine what it would be like if I was actually trying This is way more then a hobby to me... It's my love, my passion!! My kids' too. I just need the land to actually make it fruitful (no pun intended-ha!).
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Old June 17, 2015   #27
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If you bury your reservoir solution tank in the ground, and build your setup out of white materials, it's very possible to have great success in the heat, although some crops require shade cloth. Some of the biggest and most impressive hydro greenhouses are in Israel. I have seen pics of others in Australia, both in desert climates. It's the most efficient use of water to produce food.
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Old June 18, 2015   #28
reddeheddefarm
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This year I think we will be down to around 200 plants. We are still planting. weekly is a tough one to answer, on a good week 20 lbs. It depends on their usage. Bear in mind we grow mostly what we call marquee veggies, a may want the stuff you use for a special and when its gone it's gone till next year. So restaurant A may want 4lbs of purple bumble bees this week and none the following but instead want Lebanese squash be part of a special. Also keep in mind heirlooms and especially the heirlooms they have never tried or seen bring a premium dollar. Don't be afraid to ask for it. Most of them are price conscious but also know the value of being first with something new especially if it has the flavor to back up the price.
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Old June 20, 2015   #29
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Interesting ColeRobbie. I will have to do more research on that... I know nothing about hydro setups.

Reddeheddefarm- Do you have a website? I'm just more curious about your setup, size farm, etc, etc.... What your doing sounds awesome (to say it lightly). I have a friend in Canada who is an heirloom farmer and grows TONS of amazing produce. She sells to many many restaurants however she has 20 acres or so. To do a fraction of what she does, would be a dream.
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Old June 20, 2015   #30
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Our website is horrid. After the wine tasting it was very obvious we need to move that one up on the priority list. We are limited on space with just over an acre to use. we do a lot of vertical growing, cukes, beans, some squash, go in the air on trellis we designed to meet our needs. Variety selection is crucial as a premium price is not going to come from run of the mill products.
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