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Old March 10, 2016   #61
PureHarvest
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I guess to follow up.
When I ran the garden center, we used to sell over 50 heirloom tomato varieties. It was a nightmare. Never could nail down what people would want or how many. Keeping them organized was a pain. We pressured ourselves to do this to be THE place to get plants of all kinds.
The guy who brought them was also a pain to show up with product.
So we dumped the idea after some years. We still sold about a dozen or so heirlooms types that we could get from our larger growers. They sold just fine and people were happy. Nobody complained about selection because we still had a tremendous overall tomato, pepper and herb selection.
For the occasional grumpadump, we politely told them to order seeds of what they were looking for if they couldn't find something anywhere and that we could coach them through the process and supply them with stuff for seed starting.
In the end we made our life easier, sales rolled on, quality remained high, and customers were happy.
And Gerardo, I am not saying what you are doing is a bad idea. I admire your endeavor, and can't wait to follow along on how things are going. My brain keeps me from going the 40+ variety route, but I think everyone's situation is different.

Last edited by PureHarvest; March 10, 2016 at 07:15 AM.
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Old March 10, 2016   #62
Uncle Doss
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Originally Posted by Cole_Robbie View Post
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.
the largest, most advanced greenhouse in the world is in California. 125 acres under glass, and he only grows one thing, hydroponic tomatoes


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRyBKWqLzI8
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Old March 10, 2016   #63
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No worries. Tomato awareness here is minimal, so I'll just be lumping them into categories, say large pink/red slicers, hearts, yellow/orange, and stripes.

Lots of varieties is for my selfish reasons, part of the never-ending quest in search of: a) ones that are healthy, vigorous and handle the disease burden of my garden, b) taste great, c) produce well.

And I used to handle hundreds of samples (with duplicates) in a previous life, so keeping track of a couple dozen tomatoes is child's play, without Chucky of course.
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Old March 10, 2016   #64
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Originally Posted by PureHarvest View Post
I guess to follow up.
When I ran the garden center, we used to sell over 50 heirloom tomato varieties. It was a nightmare. Never could nail down what people would want or how many. Keeping them organized was a pain. We pressured ourselves to do this to be THE place to get plants of all kinds.
The guy who brought them was also a pain to show up with product.
So we dumped the idea after some years. We still sold about a dozen or so heirlooms types that we could get from our larger growers. They sold just fine and people were happy. Nobody complained about selection because we still had a tremendous overall tomato, pepper and herb selection.
For the occasional grumpadump, we politely told them to order seeds of what they were looking for if they couldn't find something anywhere and that we could coach them through the process and supply them with stuff for seed starting.
In the end we made our life easier, sales rolled on, quality remained high, and customers were happy.
And Gerardo, I am not saying what you are doing is a bad idea. I admire your endeavor, and can't wait to follow along on how things are going. My brain keeps me from going the 40+ variety route, but I think everyone's situation is different.

I watched one of those disaster bar or restaurant shows and one of the problems was they had too many choices of beer and alcohol.
It was costing them money to have to much stock and not enough turnover.
This is also the reason Places like Home Depot stopped selling higher end garden tools.
Not enough people would buy them and bought the cheap stuff.
Yesterday I read an article that had chefs comments on the most over rated and under rated cuts of meat.
I very large portion of them said the most over rated cut of meat was the Fillet Mignon.
Many of them said the chuck was the more flavorful cut.
I totally agree if they were the same price I would still by the chuck over the fillet.

I guess what I am trying to say is it is a fine line between what the chef knows is good and what the public's perception is good.
Shows like the Food Network and so on have done a tremendous job of educating people about different foods.

Worth
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Old March 10, 2016   #65
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Jess is sending me some GGWT Friday!

Thanks for stopping in here Oldchef. One of the main things I'm keying on is the one-upmanship between chefs. And unique stuff that I just don't see anywhere around here.
I feel like I can become the tomato guy because everyone else is trying to do the full veggie offering. I can specialize.
However, with 3 kids and a full time job, I do need to have some that are unique but that I can rely on for production and holding ability (great flavor too) etc. we will see what that is in my setup.
I guess I could do lots mores types, but i am concerned with overloading the chefs. One things I experienced when I was in retail was that you don't really need to offer as many options as you think to make people happy and to make a living.
Old chef, what is your take on that?
Would you rather know you are gonna get 2 boxes of GGWT every week, or 2 boxes of mixed uniqueness every week?
Or would it be a mix of both?
I guess what it comes down to is I'll grow what I know my chefs will buy and want. Anything beyond that is for experimentation and fun. And to occasionally show up and show them "something new and rare I'm trying"

Hello Pureharvest

The answer is Both...
Firstly to begin to use you, I would want to know of Consistency. What can you promise to bring me weekly or twice a week. I need to plan menus. It's not as important if it is GGWT or Earls's Faux etc.. Most chefs won't know the names anyway. They would know that you would be providing a "slicer" That same goes with any type. Just using a slicer as an example.

Then if you had a special something of a different type- that would be great. Chefs love delicious surprises.

Keep in mind different cuisines utilize different sizes. Steakhouses use slicing while Italian could use a ton of cherries for pasta. New American has a lot of flexibility Etc...

I would key on the most expensive restaurants in town. If you can tell me where you are, maybe I can possibly give you a list of chefs or restaurants that would be worth the while. Top quality-Top price

PS that pesty Perslane is becoming quite popular in New York. Don't tell it's your weeds

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Old March 10, 2016   #66
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Thanks for the help Chef. I PM'd you.
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Old March 12, 2016   #67
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I've been thinking about this for a while and will give it a shot in the near future. I don't feel ready yet.

Some ideas:

- stuffing tomatoes. I like 2 seed cavities ones, those with 3 could also work quite well

- de colgar tomatoes. You can offer great tomatoes in the off season, and they are just the best for some uses. You can't beat the aroma. One of the famous plates designed by Ferran Adria had a "de colgar" tomatoes jam.

- dry tomatoes
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Old March 12, 2016   #68
PureHarvest
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I had to look up de colgar tomatoes.
Now I understand your avatar picture!

Very interesting idea for the offseason indeed!

Where should I go for more info?

When to harvest, storage conditions, how long do they keep, taste compared to vine-ripened?
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Old March 12, 2016   #69
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I'm eating right now tomatoes picked late July. 5-6 months is easy, 12 very possible. They are usually perfect for fresh eating until Christmas, after that they are mostly for other uses. In fact, almost none were really selected for fresh eating.

You pick whole bunch when about half of the tomatoes have started changing color. Some will be fully ripe, others green. Obviously you can pick fully ripe.

Taste depends a lot on variety. They are the most diverse group among tomatoes. Usually its a bit different, and they usually have a distinct aroma. Can be amazing.

Skin is usually hard and usually are on the small side.

Storage is best at cool room temperature, not cold, dry but not too much and constant temperature. I would say about 15C. Note average relative humidity here is about 70%. That's probably the reason why they appeared as storage of dry tomatoes is not an option

Those grown on the dry side keep longer. Rain affects storage. You don't want them to get wet. Here, those picked late July are the best for storage. In late summer it gets cool at night, humidity increases and chances of thunderstorms increase.

As a rule, they are watered half of normal tomatoes or less. I usually virtually cut watering in June. (Last time it rained was on November 2, so imagine our dry summers).

They will tolerate wet conditions and I find perfect tomatoes lost in wet soil for months.

They are magic tomatoes.
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Old March 12, 2016   #70
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Originally Posted by Uncle Doss View Post
the largest, most advanced greenhouse in the world is in California. 125 acres under glass, and he only grows one thing, hydroponic tomatoes


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRyBKWqLzI8
That is AMAZING!!!! Thanks for sharing.

Linda
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Old April 7, 2016   #71
KLorentz
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Default Urban Farming

After much deliberating I have decided to try my hand at urban farming.I have not seen much heirloom veggies here so I am assuming the market here is wide open. May have my foot in the door with a local coffee house coming to town that will be selling sandwiches and salads. I do have lettuce for cut and come again lettuce and then there is also my tomatoes and peppers.just testing the waters right now but we shall see how it goes. Any suggestions?
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