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Old September 12, 2020   #1
Garlic#1
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Default Selling to Chefs and High End Restaurants - Part 3 - do over

9/12/20

Trying again but under my own posting. Older thread poofed out.

This is a very serious question as I am using for 2021 business planning.

We have Artisan series (early sales great, now excess, sending to auction) plus many from Wild Boar.

There was a very LIVELY discussion in the past but has "petered out". Need to hear from the experts actually selling.

Looking for new lines since 2012

Can we get some answers from farmer selling to high-end restaurants?

Also looking for the earliest CHERRY tomato for north country - New York - zone 5B.

Cheers and best wishes

Ron




This thread seems to have died out and I hope I can renew some interest.

As others have mentioned before, living in a rural area, few care about special varieties, it's all about the price. With chefs, the right ones, price is less of an issue. I refer to my area as "Podunk." Look it up.

In fact, this is why I joined Tomatoville.

I sell to chefs, and that's it. I refer to myself, first, as an "Gentleman Farmer" as I am retired from both Federal Government and the military. Secondly, as a "Purveyor of Specialty Produce." Sounds fancy, but I'll schlep sweet corn and potatoes to pay the bills.

What I concentrate is on specialty produce.

This year we introduced entire Artisan Tomato Collection, 6 varieties, sold mixed, and the Bronze Torch. Amazing results in sales.

We already are planning two more from Wild Boar Farms and Artisan Seeds.

Looking to hear from folks who want to talk specialty tomatoes and beyond. I need an "big ugly heirloom" to round us out. Any suggestions?

Beyond that, we want to hear about other specialty items such as Badger Flame Beets and Beauregarde Snow Peas. Anything on the cutting edge. Ideas?

Chefs want (demand) something new. Tastes great, is just a given.

Help an old guy out here folks, you have the knowledge. Reading through past posts here tells me you have this dialed in, I just need some new ideas and fresh thoughts.

Can you assist?
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Old September 13, 2020   #2
Donaldvs
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Hi, I am interested in what varieties you are growing. Similarly, I am retired and have found great satisfaction to offering some less commonly found great tasting vegetables to my followers. In the tomato line I have found “wild boar beauty king, vintage wine, chocolate stripes, Cherokee purple, and pink brandywine to be the ones receiving most praises. For sheer volume to fill out tomato requests with a reasonably tasty, well balanced, attractive tomato, — I have found Big Beef to be a decent selection. I try several heirloom varieties each year, but I am always interested in where others are finding success. Currently, I am seeking a great variety of cherry tomato that is relatively crack resistant and very flavorful. I have had reasonable success with sun sugar or sun gold, but these plants seem to have a higher propensity for early blight. Unfortunately, this year the squirrels stripped all my green tomatoes in two of my plots. This never happened to me before so if anyone has any ideas on how to address my squirrel challenge, I would greatly appreciate thoughts. BTW, I tried several approaches to save the crop, but within 3 days 50 plants were completely stripped. (Except cherry tomato plants that the chipmunks are taking there dining more slowly).
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Old September 13, 2020   #3
Garlic#1
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Yes, exactly, type of answer I was looking for. Any other vegetable items of interest? See PM Ron

Complete Artisan series, 6 in a mix. Must purchase that way. And the Bronze Torch.

Have in now, Wild Boar. Black Beauty and Atomic. Will order Tie Dye and few others. Need a big ugly" tomato.

For 2021, we're open to all ideas as chefs can't seem to get enough.

You to potatoes?

Last edited by Garlic#1; September 13, 2020 at 02:57 PM.
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Old September 13, 2020   #4
Tormato
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If it was me, I'd be breeding a hollow stuffing tomato that looks a lot like Cosmic Eclipse.

Good luck in your business.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #5
MileHighMike
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I haven't done it for a few years, but used to rent land in Denver. I grew about 375 tomato plants a year and sold to multiple high-end restaurants. I have a few principles for you, as well as specific tomatoes to try.

1 - Grow a wide variety of tomatoes. Different colors, shapes, sizes and perhaps most importantly, maturation date. You need to have some early season tomatoes so that you have product to sell early in the season. you also don't want everything ripening at once, then not being able to move all of your product.

2 - If you are selling at a farmer's market, looks are about all that matter. No matter how insistently you tell them that Black Krim is the best tasting tomato, they cannot take their eyes of of the striped tomato.

3 - When selling to chefs, taste is about all that matters. You will sell to them by bringing them samples that they will taste before they buy them. If you bring them pretty, but tasteless, tomatoes, you will not get that business. Bring them a mix of different colors, flavors, etc., that look great together and taste great individually.

4 - I only grow open-pollinated varieties and I save seeds. I used to experiment a lot and was very selective in what got saved and grown again. Line up similar tomatoes and taste test them. Only save seeds from the best tasting ones and stop growing those that are not as good. you will absolutely get better quality from your saved seeds.

5 - Charge more for cherries. They take a lot more time to pick.

6 - Remember that you are a business. Provide them a great product and good service, but don't be afraid to tell them "no" when you can't make an emergency delivery because they were not managing their inventory.

7 - I live in Denver, so my soil and environment will be very different from NY, but here are some specific thoughts on varieties:
- Black Krim is so much better than Cherokee purple. It is not even close.
- Brandywine, Sudduth's Strain is so much better than Pink Brandywine (or any other Brandywine).
- Nikolayev Yellow Cherry is as early as you will get.
- Early season tomatoes: Flamme, Taxi, Tangella, Moskovich
- Black: Black Krim, Dana's Dusky Rose, Gypsy
- Pink: Brandywine Sudduths Strain
- Yellow: Serendipity, Orange Russian 117
- Green: Captain Lucky, GWRWildThyme, Green Zebra
- Cherries: Nikolayev Yellow Cherry, Chocolate Cherry, Blush, Green Tiger, Black Cherry. Mix these all together and it is too sexy for a chef to resist.
- I also have seven unique varieties that I grew out from seed lines started by Bill Jeffers. These are all very good, and includes a GWR that is truly outstanding. I may be willing to share some seeds once things (literally) die down.

Good luck!!!
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #6
Tormato
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MileHighMike View Post
I haven't done it for a few years, but used to rent land in Denver. I grew about 375 tomato plants a year and sold to multiple high-end restaurants. I have a few principles for you, as well as specific tomatoes to try.

1 - Grow a wide variety of tomatoes. Different colors, shapes, sizes and perhaps most importantly, maturation date. You need to have some early season tomatoes so that you have product to sell early in the season. you also don't want everything ripening at once, then not being able to move all of your product.

2 - If you are selling at a farmer's market, looks are about all that matter. No matter how insistently you tell them that Black Krim is the best tasting tomato, they cannot take their eyes of of the striped tomato.

3 - When selling to chefs, taste is about all that matters. You will sell to them by bringing them samples that they will taste before they buy them. If you bring them pretty, but tasteless, tomatoes, you will not get that business. Bring them a mix of different colors, flavors, etc., that look great together and taste great individually.

4 - I only grow open-pollinated varieties and I save seeds. I used to experiment a lot and was very selective in what got saved and grown again. Line up similar tomatoes and taste test them. Only save seeds from the best tasting ones and stop growing those that are not as good. you will absolutely get better quality from your saved seeds.

5 - Charge more for cherries. They take a lot more time to pick.

6 - Remember that you are a business. Provide them a great product and good service, but don't be afraid to tell them "no" when you can't make an emergency delivery because they were not managing their inventory.

7 - I live in Denver, so my soil and environment will be very different from NY, but here are some specific thoughts on varieties:
- Black Krim is so much better than Cherokee purple. It is not even close.
- Brandywine, Sudduth's Strain is so much better than Pink Brandywine (or any other Brandywine).
- Nikolayev Yellow Cherry is as early as you will get.
- Early season tomatoes: Flamme, Taxi, Tangella, Moskovich
- Black: Black Krim, Dana's Dusky Rose, Gypsy
- Pink: Brandywine Sudduths Strain
- Yellow: Serendipity, Orange Russian 117
- Green: Captain Lucky, GWRWildThyme, Green Zebra
- Cherries: Nikolayev Yellow Cherry, Chocolate Cherry, Blush, Green Tiger, Black Cherry. Mix these all together and it is too sexy for a chef to resist.
- I also have seven unique varieties that I grew out from seed lines started by Bill Jeffers. These are all very good, and includes a GWR that is truly outstanding. I may be willing to share some seeds once things (literally) die down.

Good luck!!!
"...seed lines started by Bill Jeffers."

Does this mean that you alone are completing the lines that you have?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #7
MileHighMike
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tormato View Post
"...seed lines started by Bill Jeffers."

Does this mean that you alone are completing the lines that you have?
Yes. I bought them as F3s and F4s from Marianna's in 2013. They are all stable. I've given them names, but have not shared them with the world. It's something I've been meaning to do.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #8
eyolf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donaldvs View Post
Hi, I am interested in what varieties you are growing. Similarly, I am retired and have found great satisfaction to offering some less commonly found great tasting vegetables to my followers. In the tomato line I have found “wild boar beauty king, vintage wine, chocolate stripes, Cherokee purple, and pink brandywine to be the ones receiving most praises. For sheer volume to fill out tomato requests with a reasonably tasty, well balanced, attractive tomato, — I have found Big Beef to be a decent selection. I try several heirloom varieties each year, but I am always interested in where others are finding success. Currently, I am seeking a great variety of cherry tomato that is relatively crack resistant and very flavorful. I have had reasonable success with sun sugar or sun gold, but these plants seem to have a higher propensity for early blight. Unfortunately, this year the squirrels stripped all my green tomatoes in two of my plots. This never happened to me before so if anyone has any ideas on how to address my squirrel challenge, I would greatly appreciate thoughts. BTW, I tried several approaches to save the crop, but within 3 days 50 plants were completely stripped. (Except cherry tomato plants that the chipmunks are taking there dining more slowly).
If it works for you, a dog that can be trusted to stay in the yard is a really good critter deterrent.

Labs, Shepherds and retrievers, especially as they get older and more "settled down"

Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #9
Tormato
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eyolf View Post
If it works for you, a dog that can be trusted to stay in the yard is a really good critter deterrent.

Labs, Shepherds and retrievers, especially as they get older and more "settled down"

Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk
I'd trust a dog to stay in the yard, as long as the squirrels do likewise.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #10
eyolf
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We're dog-less at present, while mama gets over her "no more stinky dog-breath" policy, and critter invasion is an issue.

Mama will come around; the deer eating her hostas and the planters at the driveway almost turned the tide. When one broke it's leg jumping the 8-foot fence around one of my gardens she almost gave in...but made me install motion detector lights instead.

I should mention that we live rural, and have about 100 acres for a dog to roam on. The last one seldom left sight of the house without one of us to encourage her.
But I'm convinced that even the smell of a dog being around is helpful, and if they can be housed outside during the warm months they often wake at any whisper and bark.

I'm comforted by knowing Fido is on duty. My bride resents the interruption to her sleep...but also hates the mowed-off plantings, chipmunk under the deck, and raccoons climbing the fence around the Chicken house.

A dog...or more than one...works in my situation. Plus, I'm a dog lover.

It may not for everyone.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #11
Garlic#1
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I like your ideas/assessment. Right now, we're heading towards Wild Boar and the Artesian series.
Artesian and Bronze torch sold real well.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #12
dirtdigging101
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My son managed 5 restaurants in Philadelphia before the virus, now 2 locations, they closed 3 with no plans to reopen any of the 3.

Chefs agree 1/2 of restaurants are going or gone. Fine dining is beco and ing a thing for the well to do. Table of 4 $ 800. Every one eats the same thing. Chef chooses, your choice $ 1,600.

And they are getting it, even smaller markets.

Chefs are buying much less produce.

Paul
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #13
Garlic#1
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Understood about restaurants closing, but, I still need to plan 2021. People have to eat. Excess can be sent to auctions who beg for specialty produce. Also have farm stand where consumers need to be educated about specialty.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #14
dirtdigging101
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Yeah, plan ahead, my son's restaurants are in Philadelphia, they send a van out to Lancaster , amish market, the buy there, this bgg ut ear volume is about 20 % of a year ago..his chefs prefer Chief's Choice.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #15
Lasairfion
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Paul Gautschi swears by black labradors as good ones to keep out animals. His current golden retriever is apparently way too friendly with the deer.
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