You might not know this but we were this close to taking tomatoes off the menu entirely for 9 months out of the year.
First our beloved Backyard Farms (which inspired the late, great Maine Tomato Sandwich) changed the way they grow tomatoes, making their price unjustifiable. Then all the tomatoes from Mexico and Canada were flavorless and nothing we could get excited about. I remember one Food Dev meeting where we tasted 6 different tomatoes and they were all terrible.
I had been buying Longwind Farm tomatoes for years through Farmers to You, and some small restaurants had been featuring them for years too. They are definitely a chef’s tomato. I never thought they could handle Clover’s volumes. These tomatoes are juicy, sweet, with just the right amount of acid. And if you read their website you might just want to move to Vermont and join the tomato revolution.
The major difference between Longwind Farm and BYF (and the tomatoes we were getting from Mexico and Canada?) Longwind Farm tomatoes are grown in rich soil, rather than hydroponically, which is where tomatoes never touch soil. The farmers believe that these tomatoes pick up all kinds of beautiful flavor compounds from the soil. And they select their varieties for flavor, rather than appearance, firmness, and portability.
PS: No tomatoes grown outdoors right now are “in season.” It’s still May, and tomato season happens in New England in summer. Specifically August/September. So during the off-season we rely on greenhouse-grown.
Longwind Farm is a dream come true. I hope we get to plan a trip up to VT soon to say thanks in person. Our sandwiches and platters actually taste better today than they did 2 months ago because they’re not being diluted by terrible tomatoes.