Picking and pricing Tomatillo

Tom1953(5)July 31, 2005

Hi this is our first year selling Tomatillo, how do you know when to pick them and how much do you charge.

They are green husk variety.

Tom

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Patty_WI(z4 WI)

Pick them when the husk has filled in. Sometimes they outgrow the husk and that is ok too.

For pricing I'm looking forward to that! I couldn't GIVE them away last year.

Good luck to you. Patty

    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 8:44AM
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paveggie(z5-6)

Tom - not a hot item, but I find that at least $1.50 per quart box is fair in a small market. People who like them never quibble so it is probably on the low side. Most folk unfamiliar with them will assume that they are "hot," but flavor is mild and more limey.

Usually pick just as the husk starts to split and the interior is still green. That's the stage for salsa verde (green sauce). Some like them a tad more mature when they are somewhat yellowish. There are slight flavor differences. One nice thing is that tomatillos keep well right on the kitchen counter. Spread them out and don't refrigerate if they can't be used immediately.

Check the harvest forum or recipe websites. A number of ethnic groups use this, particularly in Mexican cooking.

Good idea to clean up any dropped fruit at season's end as this plant will reseed like crazy.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2005 at 6:24PM
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trianglejohn

This year I grew the purple ones. Looked like mini eggplants. They made the prettiest salsa - I guess that would be salsa morado instead of salsa verde. I don't sell produce at the market only plants, and I move very few tomatillos but I will continue to offer them because I grow them for my home use. I think they are one of the easiest things to grow and produce a very versatile crop.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 9:31AM
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kristenmarie(Z4-5/New Mexico)

Agreed-- I sell tomato plants in the spring and I always plant tomatillos thinking people will buy them, and they never do-- I inevitably throw away trays and trays, which is upsetting, because it's a great little fruit. I'm growing the purple variety this year, too, as well as the pineapple one, and we'll see if they sell at market ... I rather doubt it. And I live in an area where "Mexican cooking" is pretty common. They don't sell here, either.

Kristen

    Bookmark   August 16, 2005 at 5:39PM
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Patty_WI(z4 WI)

Kristen,
The pineapple one is really a ground cherry. Check for some little yellow dropped fruits on the ground. That is when they are ripe.

Funny, I bought this seed thinking it was a tomatillo. I can't sell the tomatillo at market (no one wants them) but I sold the ground cherry just fine!

Patty

    Bookmark   August 17, 2005 at 8:29AM
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trianglejohn

Friend from Mexico says that most cook's just buy the canned salsa verde rather than make it from scratch (which is odd, because it is so easy to make). And that only certain regions of Mexico grow and eat Tomatillos.

I grow the ground cherry also. This year a friend doing business in Bogota Colombia brought me back some seeds from a ground cherry they grow and make into preserves. Isn't as prolific as the 'pineapple' one but taste like a kumquat - very citrus-ey and a pretty orange color.

I've changed my seeding schedule so that I sow a set amount of seeds every two weeks rather than have multiple flats of slow movers. Even things like basil that I assumed would fly off the tables doesn't move all that fast at my market.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2005 at 12:32PM
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kristenmarie(Z4-5/New Mexico)

Well that certainly explains why it has spread all over the ground in a strange fashion instead of growing like a tomatillo! So if I get enough to sell, how do I tell people to use the pineapple ground cherries?

Now I'm sort of excited! A novelty! If they buy the purple ones AND the ground cherries, I'll be in good shape... :)

Kristen

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 8:45AM
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trianglejohn

I eat them fresh and raw like any fruit. I've heard of people making jelly/preserves with them but you would have to grow a ton of them to do so. The biggest problem I see is that the fruit ripens over a long period of time so you are having to harvest small amounts every day rather than a big harvest every once in a while. My ground cherries (the pineapple ones) taste best if they are so ripe they've fallen off the plant so I plant mine on small mounds and use plastic mulch. That way the fruit fall off the plant and roll down into the pathway. Once a mockingbird taste one you'll be fighting over the ripe ones.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 10:19AM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

I've been able to sell them for $2/lb if I have a recipe on how to make the salsa available with the tomatillos. Also we have a local restaurant that has the salsa verde on the table, and that really helps. If I talk it up, I can usually sell them to anyone who will look at them.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2005 at 6:54PM
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kpacklight(z6 OH)

Hi, this is my first year doing a smallmarket. Imade up quart baskets with tomatillos, an onion, 2 jalapenos, and a small bunch of cilantro, and a recipe for salsa verde. I sold them for $4.50, and sold out of them quickly. I definitely talked them up, pointed them out, and watched them disappear!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2005 at 10:34AM
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