cherry toms, pricing and post -harvesting

wackybell(z5 WI)July 31, 2006

this is my first year with cherry toms. I decided to grow gold nugget and sun gold cherry toms. I have yet to see any other vendor sell a veggie by its variety name, but I listed them this week and asked customers for feedback.

I'm not sure of the proper post harvest handling of them. So far I've been picking them on a wed and thurs and fri for sat market.

I don't know if they should stay at air temp. or in the walk in cooler. This week I put them in the cooler b/c its been in the 90's. or should I put them in the house in the ac?

I have not been washing them, if one or two have dirt I just rub it off.

I bought a case of 600 clam shell pint containers for them, so they look nice at market, no other vendor is using clamshells at my market.

I had no Idea for a price, this week I sold them at $2.00 a pint. I did a price check, at the grocery I see them for $2.50. And at market, vendors had them as low as $1.00 and yes, 50 cents a pint. I had over 25 pints for sale, and I only came home with 8. And a few customers complained about my price. So I didn't know?

In short please share your post harvest handling; pricing, of cherry toms.

thanks so much


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I also sell gold nugget and sungold cherries, usuallly mixed and then sometimes red cherries or black cherries. I started off offering a taste when they said are those tomatoes? Now I have a lot of repeat customers and sell out early most weeks. I use pint clamshells and pick Tuesday and Friday night. I store them at room temp in a cool room.
I wash them on Friday night and make sure I get any split or unripe ones out. I sell them for $2.00 a pint. I sell the other tomatoes mostly heirlooms for $2 a pound starting about the 2nd week of August here and then sometimes drop to $1.50 at the end of the season when all the gardens have tomatoes.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2006 at 3:38PM
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Hi Kristi,

This is our first official year at the farmer's markets... we go to two... small towns. We have grown everything using organic methods, no chemicals, etc. Our tomatoes are the first on the market.

We are selling our Sweet Baby Girl Cherry Tomatoes for $3.00/pint which we weigh out (for ourselves to be consistent... not officially) to be approximately 1# each. We will hold that price for "Matt's Wild's" & Grape Tomatoes. We use the grocery as a gauge & go a bit higher.

Our standard size tomatoes are selling for $3.00/quart box which is approximately 1# as well.

We usually harvest the day/evening before market & wash only if necessary because of mud or dirt. Our tomatoes are staked & fairly clean.

We use green strawberry quart size boxes & when they sell we put them in a baggie with a twist tie & keep our boxes.

We've been leaving them in the house covered with a towel to keep fruit flies from 'nibbling' during the night. It seems that I read somewhere that refrigeration is not recommended for tomatoes.

As far as other vendors selling for less, our policy is to do our research, set our price & stick with it. We let people know when they are looking at our table that everything is freshly picked, locally grown by us (not bought in from somewhere else) & that we don't use chemicals. We've found that most people appreciate knowing those things & are willing to pay a fair price for our products. We struggled alot at the beginning of the season, but when we consider how much work we put in to grow, weed, harvest, clean, package, etc & then look at the grocery prices knowing most of the produce has travelled many miles, been treated with chemicals or gassed, we realize we are offering a terrific product at a very fair price!

May you be blessed & encouraged in all you do! Sally ;o)

    Bookmark   July 31, 2006 at 7:34PM
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ohiorganic(5/6 SW Ohio)

I sell sungolds for $2.50 a half pint and sell out. And that is with competition (2 other vendors sell them also for $3 a pint). I do not pay attention to lower prices. I do this for a living and I do a lot of marketing and I have been doping this for 12 years so customers know I am not a fly by nighter and also that my quality is always top notch. if people want to undercut me the are free to do so but all they do is end up making a lot less money and rarely taking my customers away.

Do not refrigerate tomatoes ever! It kills the taste and promotes rot. They will be fine in 90 degree heat as long as they are out of direct sunlight. Another trick if you have to hold them a few days is to pick them before they are fully ripe so the will ripen and not over ripen.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2006 at 11:21AM
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We sell at three farmers markets. We sell cherry and grape tomatoes in a clear plastic pint box, no lid as we found we were having some problems with sweating. Price is $3.00 a pint. Our tomatoes are grown on vertical strings so we do not wash them. My problem with cherry and grape tomatoes is the labor involved in picking them! I can sell my other tomatoes at $3.00 a pound and one tomatoe can weigh a pound! But my wife loves them, our customers love them and I consider them a necessary evil.ha We pick the morning of or the night before, never refrigerate. Ours are pesticide free, spray free and we don't apologize for quality You will build up a loyal customer base but it takes a little time and don't worry about that someone is selling for less than you. Good luck

    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 10:32AM
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I guess I'll offer a slightly different twist on what info was offered. I too grow Gold nugget and a few red grape tomatoes. They are sold in half pint containers, whereas we offer larger tomatoes in pint(stacked) or individually. Since i grow in a heated high tunnel I have sold tomatoes since early June and then the price was set at $3/hp small tomatoes ($3.75/ pt for large). However we have been droping the price 25 cents each week for the past three weeks and promoting the decline in price to everyone. I have bushel orders for this week @ $18 so I figure the price needs to follow supply somewhat. The price will level off for us at $1.50/hp($2.00/pt large toms). It will rise again in the fall after a killing frost.

To be logical about the price, many of my customers also grow tomatoes. Some are still buying because theirs are either not ripe yet or in insufficient supply. They may continue to buy for additional variety if the price is reasonable. If they like the taste they will return for more but they expect a fair price in comparison to market trend.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 4:43PM
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the duty of the seller is to get the best price possible. to uphold the honor of their work and their profession. to earn enough money to live a life of dignity and respect.

Selling cheap is giving yourself less than your due. therefore it is a sign of not loving yourself.

give yourself a life of dignity and respect. Love yourself and charge a good reasonable price. never do cut throat pricing. it reduces your own dignity and the dignity of everyone else who shares your profession.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 8:19PM
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garliclady(z7 NC)

I used to sell mine in clamshells or paper pulp pints.I am now selling mine by weight ($3.00 lb ) but I put them in a small clear plastic cup for a $1.00. I mix Sungold, Black cherry, a pink grape, and a small red cherry and sell it as "Rainbow Mix" The beatiful tomatoes in the cup get there attention. People wanting to try something new are willing to risk the $1.00 and those who already know they like them buy several cups or ask for them by the pound. I do keep the cups which save the cost of the clamshells too! I don't carry them to market in the cups I just keep refilling 10 -15 cups as I go.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2006 at 6:23PM
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