Scrumptious Tomatoes – We’ll do Our Part, Please do Yours

I’ve been around tomato greenhouses since I was a kid. That’s why I’m not the least bit bashful about telling people a thing or two about tomatoes. As for blogging . . .  never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be writing stories about tomatoes in cyberspace (do people still call it that?). For me, writing doesn’t come easy. It’s like trying to nail jelly to a tree. So, at the outset, I’m going to be completely honest with you. I’ve had some help with this blog. I expect to get better as time passes and eventually even do it all by myself. Writing, like growing and nurturing greenhouse tomatoes is a craft – the more you work at it, the more you practice, the more you listen and learn . . . the better you’ll be.

So why, you might ask, would a tomato farmer start blogging? Again, I have to be honest with you. The idea wasn’t mine. It came from David Bell, our Chief Marketing Officer. He says people come to blogs and social media for a whole bunch of reasons; the most important of which is to get information. And though they can’t bite into a scrumptious Houweling’s tomato online, they can certainly connect with us and learn about our varieties, and the best way to store and serve them. So, for my inaugural blog I’m going to offer some simple ways to enjoy tomatoes at their best.

1. Never refrigerate a Houweling’s Tomato.  Guess I ought to come clean and tell you not to refrigerate any tomato, regardless of who grows it, because this is a quick way to lose flavor. To my dismay, 50% of people still insist on refrigeration. Maybe it’s because the tomatoes they buy aren’t greenhouse grown and there’s not much flavor to begin with. Forgive me for that – I can be a little competitive at times. The truth is this: Greenhouse grown tomatoes may cost a little more but the taste is worth every penny. So make a late New Year’s resolution and declare your refrigerator ‘verboden’ (that’s Dutch for forbidden) to tomatoes. Instead keep them on the counter out of direct sunlight with the stem side facing up.

2. Tomatoes On The Vine last longer. That’s because the fruit (yes, fruit – tomatoes are technically not a vegetable) continues to be fed nutrients from the stems. As a general rule, a ripe tomato on the vine can last a week at room temperature in a dry location. Of course, I’d like you to eat our tomatoes right away, but within 2-4 days is a good rule because you never know how long they’ve been on the grocer’s shelf. If the tomato skin is no longer tight and beginning to shrivel, you’re eyeing a tomato that’s lost its peak of freshness.

3. Buy locally-grown. With Houweling’s greenhouses located in California and British Columbia, we are within a day of every grocer on the Pacific coast. The closer a grower is to the market, the fresher the tomato.

4. Handle tomatoes with the same care we do. I sometimes watch people in the produce department of my local store. I see them pinch, squeeze and torment tomatoes, leaving a wake of bruises and blemishes, and robbing the next customer of a fresh, delicious tomato. Ripe tomatoes, like seasoned tomato growers can be a sensitive cluster.

I hope my first blog will help you enjoy tomatoes like never before. Oh, yes . . . one oversight. Don’t forget to start with a Houweling’s tomato.  In my next blog, I’m going to tell you about some amazing health benefits of this wonderful fruit. Don’t be shy yourself. Ask me about tomatoes and I’ll be glad to share my views right here in the blog section of our website.

With my regards,

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