February 15, 2019

Tomato nightmare… not sure what to do…

Tomatoes are a nightmare right now. For years we’ve bought from Backyard Farms up in Maine. They were sold and are growing terrible tomatoes now. The Canadian greenhouse tomatoes are terrible. The VT greenhouse we like is in the middle of a mid-winter clean-out. We tasted some OK heirloom tomatoes from Mexico, but they were just OK and the supply isn’t consistent.

I don’t know what to do. Honestly, if tomatoes were always this bad I never would have brought the Classic Breakfast Sandwich to the menu in the form it is now. And I feel sort of bad everyday about the current state of affairs. It’s really miserable.

When I started Clover I was so happy to find Backyard Farms, a gigantic greenhouse up in Maine. They grew a Dutch variety of tomato that was bred to smell and taste amazing, even in the dead of winter. It was incredible and part of our regional food system. They had a policy of only selling to markets they could drive to in less than a day, which meant they could allow the tomatoes to ripen BEFORE picking them (most tomatoes are picked unripe, that’s part of the reason they are mealy). And so we have tomatoes on our menu. In critical places. Like the Classic Breakfast Sandwich. And in the cucumber tomato salad on the Chickpea Fritter Sandwich.

I’m not sure what to do. We’ll probably limp through the next month or so and then start buying the VT tomatoes (Long Wind Farm) and hope we can work with them on a consistent supply going forward. If not I’m going to have to hack tomatoes out of the menu. Uhggg…. what do you think we should do?

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