Can’t Judge A Tomato By Its Color (A study of my market customers)

Unlike 25 or even 20 years ago, today there are so many tomato color variations on the market, that it sometimes can be difficult to choose. I, for one, am opened to trying anything. But not everyone is so eager to try new assortments of colors and even shapes. At my to farmers market one of my main goals is to inform my customers. You would often hear me say ” you can’t judge a tomato by its color”. Some people come to my booth only looking only for certain colors(mostly red and pinks). I use this opportunity to suggest different colors that they have never tried. I have learned so much just by making suggestions.

In our market we are not allowed to offer tomatoes in pieces or slices as taste samples, so customers wanting to try new things don’t really have a feel for taste before they make a purchase. In those instances, my job is to help them feel comfortable enough to take a few new varieties home. Often, they return for more of the same. They are even more opened to trying a bigger assortment the second time around.

Green When Ripe Tomatoes Are Harder To Sell

One of the hardest colors to sell is a green when ripe (GWR) variety. This category is quickly becoming extensive, with many variations of green to choose from. I would really love to see more people trying the “greens”. To help achieve this objective, I approach it by informing my customers that “greens” are usually sweeter than most. Truly, there are not many green when rip varieties which I don’t like something about, and I let my customers know that. This works more than half of the times. I also let them know that the same sorts of  things  can be accomplished with “greens”. By the way, some of my favorites are Green Giant, Aunt Ruby’s and Malakhitovaya Shkatulka. I will continue taking some to the market each year, as I have seen a nice increase in customers who return for them.

Bi Color Tomatoes Are An Easy Sell

Many customers who shy away from green when ripened varieties, are highly attracted to some of the bi-colored variations. What I have noticed though, is that they will purchase a primarily green bi-colored fruit, but shy away from ones that are all (GWR). There are so many variations of bi-colored tomatoes that is easy to see why there will probably be something that customers are willing to try. I usually sell out of my bi-colors. Some of the varieties that I take to the market are Berkley Tie Dye, Mr Stripey, Striped German and an assortment of smaller types.

Black Tomatoes Have Finally Caught On

Once upon a time, black tomatoes were in the same predicament as GWRs now are. Almost no-one wanted to try them, and vendors had to work hard to have them accepted. Now, black varieties are considered among some of the most exotic.  They are in very high demand, especially by chefs. Along with bi-colors, black tomatoes are some of the easiest to sell. There is no shortage of exceptional taste in this category. My customers come early and in doves for my black varieties. Some fan favorites are Cherokee Purple, Black Krim, Paul Robeson, Chocolate Cherry and Black Cherry. I do take a bigger assortment to the market than the ones mentioned here.

Yellow, Pink And Red Tomatoes Are Still On The Throne

I lumped these three categories together because they are the highest in demand. These colors hardly need any introduction to most people. As a result, I will not say a lot about them. On any given day, one or all of these colors can easily be my best seller. They usually are! Customers ask for reds or pinks because they are mostly used to these colors and want to stick with what they are comfortable with. Yellows are mostly requested because many customers believe they are lower in acidity. The truth is, all tomatoes have the same level of acidity. Not all have the same level of sugars. So if a tomato is higher in sugar, there is a tendency for the acidity to appear less. Red and Pink Brandywine varieties are the highest in demand. Others that I take to he market are Curtis Cheek(a favorite) Mayos Delight, Kelloggs Breakfast, Dad’s Sunset, Altai Orange, Mendoza 44 , Rose and Yoder’s German Yellow (a favorite of mine).

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