Tomatoville® Gardening Forums


Notices

Discuss your tips, tricks and experiences growing and selling vegetables, fruits, flowers, plants and herbs.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old January 11, 2009   #31
Dukerdawg
Growing for Market Moderator
 
Dukerdawg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Westland, Michigan
Posts: 861
Default

Brokenbar, I would be very interested in hearing more about your business. Do you have a commercial dehydrator? How do you package exactly. What government hoops did you have to jump through etc. It sounds like you have really filled a niche market perfectly.

Duane
__________________
May I aspire to live my life so that I may be the man my dog thinks I am.
Dukerdawg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 11, 2009   #32
brokenbar
Tomatovillian™
 
brokenbar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: South Of The Border
Posts: 1,169
Default

Not to much red tape in Wyoming. I fall under a special provision for local growers and what I sell is not "processed" as they determine the word. I sell mine at 1/2 lb dry, in a quart vacuum seal bag vacuumed as far down as it will go for 10.00 and then by the pound(s)(18.50) in a gallon bag. I do sell quart jars of tomatoes in Olive Oil. I think it is probably a 1/4 pound dried tomatoes in there and I get 21.00 per quart (Costco for Olive oil or you will have to mortgage your home!) I get more for specialty tomatoes like Borgo Cellano and now, some of the black varieties.
I did not make much the first year but as word of mouth spread, I can barely keep up with demand and had to decide if I wanted to get bigger (And I decided I don't!) We live 60 miles from Billings Montana and I had restaurants there calling me like crazy but that is just too much.

On another post on this forum I described my method which is basically, I slice them, soak them in the cheapest red wine I can buy for 24 hours, drain, sprinkle with equal parts basil and Oregano and then Sea Salt. I have a large solar dehydrator which I got the plans for online but I also bought a new, 15 shelf stainless steel commercial dehydrator and another older one I bought At an Estate sale. Truthfully, I am so busy, I mainly use the electric ones because other than the length of drying time, there is no discernible difference in quality and/or taste between sun dried and electric dried. In fact, the Industry now describes all dried tomatoes as sun dried which is why you don't see bags of "dehydrated" tomatoes for sale.

I have been really surprised at how much demand there is and I really live in the middle of nowhere compared to most folks on this forum. It is always about finding a niche and filling it!

I think this would be a great business for anyone.
brokenbar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 11, 2009   #33
Wi-sunflower
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 2,440
Default

You are really lucky and rare then not to be regulated.

I know where I am, Wisconsin, anything that is cut for any reason is considered "processing" and has to be done in a licensed kitchen and you need a processing license.

Real big hassle here. It's gotten so bad that in some places where there are farmers markets, you can't even cut a melon or tomato to give a "sample". Not ALL my markets take that hard a stance, but unfortunately my biggest market does.

So anyone else considering this as an opportunity, be sure to check out your local AND state rules about processing FIRST.
Wi-sunflower is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 11, 2009   #34
brokenbar
Tomatovillian™
 
brokenbar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: South Of The Border
Posts: 1,169
Default

Only 1/2 million people in the whole state. Wyoming is like a hold-over from the 40's...they REALLY hate anything having to do with government here. No State tax, no inventory tax, Right To Work state, business license/resale license costs 50.00, no building permits (maybe in the actual "town" limits) lowest property taxes in the country (we have oil, coal, natural gas and bentonite and they make these companies pay dearly for doing business here, they basically fund all the schools and all the highway/road/bridge infrastructure) This state has had over a 10 million dollar budget SURPLUS every year for 16 years in a row. Rural Electric authority co-op so cheap power. Compared to other states, we have it made. And lest you all think we live in the artic tundra...I am at 4,000 foot elevation, far northern end of the state and I have NO SNOW! We have had one snowfall since winter and it melted off in two days. We go most of the winter with no snow. The mountains, like Jackson Hole, etc get the snow. I am surrounded by mountains on 3 sides and they take it all. We are also all flood irrigated which is 11.00 per acre, all the water you can use April through October.
Are you packing yet???
brokenbar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 11, 2009   #35
carolyn137
Tomatoville® Moderator
 
carolyn137's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Upstate NY, zone 4b/5a
Posts: 19,878
Default

In most states I know you couldn't sell tomatoes in jars with olive oil unless you jumped through many hoops/

Why do you like Borgo Cellano so much. I don't like it at all and not just b'c I don't believe one word of the purported history which says it's supposed to be 400 years old.

A friend of mine, now deceased, was the person who introduced it.

In other words, well heck, if you like it you like it and I won't ask what other varieties you've tried for the same purpose.
__________________
Carolyn
carolyn137 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 11, 2009   #36
brokenbar
Tomatovillian™
 
brokenbar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: South Of The Border
Posts: 1,169
Default

Carolyn, I don't like Borgo Cellano either...way too small and too much work and lots of seeds. Not enough pluses to overcome those things. These buyers "read" and they see that this is touted as "THE" drying tomato so want it. I just charge them more. Same way with the "black" tomato varieties...I have read thousands of descriptions that wax poetic about "smokey", "earthy" flavor and I fail to taste anything like that. Some are good, some are not so good in flavor. They are willing to pay almost double the price for these dried thus, I am happy to oblige.
As regards the oil...I have no problem here because it has not been heated, or processed. Truthfully, most want to re-hydrate their own tomatoes in oil and herbs of their choice and I don't sell many of those done that way anymore (mostly to just plain people in town and not chefs) I used to deliver those and with gas the way it was, I had to charge a fortune (I mailed 12 pints of salsa verde and 12 pints of red salsa to my Mother-In-Law in Oregon and it cost me 32.00!) I would way rather sell the dehydrated in vacuum bags. I also do the ones in oil for xmas gifts with a little booklet with sun dried tomato recipes. AND THE LIDS SAY REFRIGERATE!

I have tested probably 35 different varieties over the years and most I discard as drying tomatoes for all the obvious reasons...too seedy, too much moisture, looses taste when dry, falls apart when dry, ugly...
brokenbar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 11, 2009   #37
brokenbar
Tomatovillian™
 
brokenbar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: South Of The Border
Posts: 1,169
Default

I tried to edit my post but it was being temper mental today...
I did grow several yellow/gold varieties one year and they were a giant DUD. They just don't look as appealing dried.
Truthfully, the biggest difference in most varieties is how they dry. "regular" tomatoes vs paste have so much water that you nearly have to cut them in half or they fall apart when dry. Even 1/2 slices break apart really easily. I can never seem to find a happy medium on "regular" tomatoes...either they are not dry enough or they turn into "bacon bits" (those go into a gallon jar for my families use in soup, stews, etc.) when you pick them up or vacuum seal them in bags. It's a shame because so many of the regular varieties are a lot more tasty. I was visiting with a chef last week and I told him I was growing some white fruited tomato plants for a friend who wants them for sauce. He says that "white" tomato sauce is all the rage, especially with seafood. Fads...I can never keep up with them.
brokenbar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 11, 2009   #38
Elayne
Tomatovillian™
 
Elayne's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Newcastle, Wyoming
Posts: 65
Default

Brokenbar----You hit most of the great reasons to live in Wyoming! We often drive to South Dakota for shopping. On the way home, we can't wait to see that Buckin' Horse sign!
__________________
Chaos is a friend of mine.
Elayne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 11, 2009   #39
brokenbar
Tomatovillian™
 
brokenbar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: South Of The Border
Posts: 1,169
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elayne View Post
Brokenbar----You hit most of the great reasons to live in Wyoming! We often drive to South Dakota for shopping. On the way home, we can't wait to see that Buckin' Horse sign!
Where are you at Elayne? I am on the other side of the Bighorns almost on the border. Well DUH...ignore my post. Newcastle is beautiful. I have a good friend here who was raised there. You guys had much snow? We had some brutal below zero (like 25 below YUCK) weather for about 10 days but has been in the 40's and even a couple days of 50's this past week.

Last edited by brokenbar; January 11, 2009 at 08:57 PM.
brokenbar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 11, 2009   #40
Elayne
Tomatovillian™
 
Elayne's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Newcastle, Wyoming
Posts: 65
Default

Actually, we have had quite a bit of snow (more than I like)! The last three times we went out of town we drove home on REALLY bad roads. There is alot of snow north of us at Trailshead and the ski areas. We also had the bitter cold in December, unusual for us. Usually, Newcastle is warmer than any place around us. I still have to start my seedlings in Walls O Water or I would never be able to grow the late season varieties. I try to get them out the first week of May or as soon as the snow melts.When do you plant? It's great to see another Wyoming person on this forum!
__________________
Chaos is a friend of mine.
Elayne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 11, 2009   #41
brokenbar
Tomatovillian™
 
brokenbar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: South Of The Border
Posts: 1,169
Default

I put mine out under milk jugs the second week in May. Last year, that HAG Mother Nature gave us 27 degrees on June 9th, (NEVER had frost in June in my lifetime) and I lost about a 3rd of everything (I had OF COURSE) already removed the jugs because it had gotten quite warm.
Of course, you know as well as I that Wyoming weather is mercurial. And then we get those "lovely" winds...one year it ripped every single leaf off of my tomato plants. Standing out in the garden and cursing makes me feel better but does little to help! Oh well. I guess it's always something. We don't get all the fungal problems that I see a lot of folks on this forum get, no hornworms and not much else in the way of bugs except this past season, grasshoppers were vicious. They did not get me too bad but I have friends that lost a lot of their stuff to them. My one friend said they even got on her ears of corn and ate into them and ate her potato plants off to the ground.

I manage to grow late season tomatoes and my hubby grows great watermelon. Had one 70 pounder last year.
He grows all the rest of the garden. I only like growing tomatoes (and I don't even eat them!) How's your soil? We have a lot of bentonite (gumbo) and some areas have a lot of alkali. My soil is good because we had a breeding business for about 20 years so we had lots of horse manure mixed with wood shavings. I never have to fertilize anything.

We have such a bizarro growing season in Wyoming. We can get as little as 90 days and as much as 150, you just never know. Glad also to have someone from Wyoming to compare notes with!
brokenbar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 12, 2009   #42
feldon30
Tomatovillian™
 
feldon30's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Rock Hill, SC
Posts: 5,352
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wi-sunflower View Post
You are really lucky and rare then not to be regulated.

I know where I am, Wisconsin, anything that is cut for any reason is considered "processing" and has to be done in a licensed kitchen and you need a processing license.

Real big hassle here. It's gotten so bad that in some places where there are farmers markets, you can't even cut a melon or tomato to give a "sample". Not ALL my markets take that hard a stance, but unfortunately my biggest market does.

So anyone else considering this as an opportunity, be sure to check out your local AND state rules about processing FIRST.
Not to go off-topic, but this kind of nonsense is killing farmer's markets. I cannot believe farmers haven't been able to band together and overthrow these moronic laws. Go to the news media, make a huge stink about it! I think it would make a fantastic PSA (public service announcement) if you had a farmer cut open a tomato and hand it to someone to taste it, and you had a cop step up and arrest the farmer. Then have the voiceover "Did you know it is illegal for farmers to have cut up a tomato, melon, fruit, or other product and have another person taste it at a farmer's market? Overprotective special interests have gotten these laws on the book, but you can help. Vote Proposition 12. Bring sanity back to our farming heritage."

I figure if I cannot slice a tomato or melon at a farmer's market, I'm not gonna sell many, as my product has to TASTE better than the others. Before I got into growing tomatoes, I'd pretty much given up on decent-tasting tomatoes. It was tasting one at a farmer's market (The Bayou City Farmer's Market operated by UrbanHarvest) that got me totally hooked on heirlooms.

I was really shocked to hear they have the same nonsense in Kentucky. I guess I thought of Kentucky as the last place I'd ever see iron-fisted laws about being able to sample a tomato or melon at a farmer's market.

Thank God cooler heads have prevailed in Houston.

And don't get me started on the thousands of dollars they expect people to spend to package salads, make yogurt, etc. at home. This type of regulation doesn't stop people from being unsafe. I'd rather have an inspection and see that everything looks clean and organized, then requiring people to buy a bunch of overpriced equipment and build a whole separate kitchen. That doesn't prove anything. Some of the best food I've ever had was made in people's homes, and it didn't take a special kitchen or thousands of dollars of commercial equipment to make it.




I stayed in Bozeman, MT last spring for a week and of course did the Yellowstone thing too. Very beautiful up there. Can't wait to go back.
__________________
I've relaunched my gardening website -- TheUnconventionalTomato.com *

*I'm not allowed to post weblinks so you'll have to copy-paste it manually.
feldon30 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 12, 2009   #43
Wi-sunflower
Tomatovillian™
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 2,440
Default

Unfortunately with the last several year's contaminated produce scares, I doubt we will ever get sampling back at my best market. The problem tends to exist in the bigger city markets where there is an active 'Health Dept.'. My Hubby's 2 markets that are in smaller communities don't bother him at all.
Wi-sunflower is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 12, 2009   #44
hasshoes
Tomatovillian™
 
hasshoes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: MA
Posts: 438
Default

Feldon makes a very good point.

I've heard of a lot of Hepatitis cases from restaurants over the years. . . farmers markets- not one.
__________________
Heather S
hasshoes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 12, 2009   #45
Worth1
Tomatovillian™
 
Worth1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Bastrop Texas Lost Pines Forest.
Posts: 30,310
Default

A few guys get caught trying to make a bomb out of liquid to blow up an airplane (maybe).
Now I cant bring fluids through security not even a 5 oz can of something like Vienna sausage because it is just over the amount I can have.
They say they cant tell how much the fluid weighs in the can.
Water is now 3 dollars for a tiny little bottle in the secured area at Anchorage.
US Air is now ripping customers off at $2 a drink for water on the plane.
I usually fly First Class so I get it for free.

Some home made bear salami I had set off the Nitrates alarm at the air port.

I carry pointy scissors that could be used as a weapon and its Ok, they have never taken them in 3 years.

Way off subject but it just goes to prove how stupid the laws are.

They even told me last year they weren't for sure I could sell tomato plants at the farmers market for some reason.
It is only open for about 3 hours on Saturdays so I didn't join.

Some caterer jerk wanted to buy my good heirloom tomatoes for less than market value during the tomato scare last year.

I think the road side stand is still a good Idea for me.

I might set up in front of China Mart just so I can give them a hard time even though I know they will get me ran off.
If the cop tries to write me a ticket I will bribe He/She with tomatoes.
Here you go, just taste one, take some home to the family. I'll let you know when the melons come in.

Worth
__________________
Home of Cactus Flats Botanical Gardens.
The dinner table is where we need to get acquainted not the battlefield.
I Seek The Truth.
Worth1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 07:36 AM.


★ Tomatoville® is a registered trademark of Commerce Holdings, LLC ★ All Content ©2017 Commerce Holdings, LLC ★