Tuesday, November 22, 2011

380 lbs of tomatoes

What would you do with 380 lbs of ripe tomatoes? 

Yesterday afternoon, I got a hankering for roasted tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner. I called down to the produce house to see if they had any flats of organic on-the-vine tomatoes, and sure enough, they said they did - "but they are on the ripe side." Well, I figured that would work for me because I was planning on using them for dinner. 

I picked up two flats and headed to the cashier. The flats usually sell for about $22 to $25, but I figured they would be on sale since the tomatoes were ripe and had to be sold as quickly as possible. Just by comparison, Whole Foods sells these tomatoes for as much as $6.99/lb - and there are 11 lbs in a flat. 

What I didn't expect was to find out that the produce house would offer me the ridiculously low price of $2 per flat. Wow! I quickly decided to buy ALL the remaining flats of tomatoes, which turned out to be 37. I have a contact list of about 40 people who regularly order through my co-op drop point and/or split produce with me, so I started calling them to see if they were interested in getting any. By the time I had even gone half-way through my list, all the flats that I had extra had been spoken for. I was passing them on for $3/flat because the produce house adds sales tax, and I spent a couple of hours buying, loading, and unloading it all, as well as being busy all evening with people coming and picking up their tomatoes.

 This is my van after I took out about 10 more flats

Oh, I also bought 15 loaves of organic 9-grain bread from Alpine Valley Bakery, but that seems rather small by comparison now. The bakery sells them for $4/loaf, while the produce house has them for $2/loaf. Still a bit more than my homemade bread, but my family loves this particular one for toast and sandwiches.

For dinner alone, we went through two loaves of bread and two flats of tomatoes (I made enough soup to last for lunch today, too). Can't wait to have more of it in just a little bit! I also dried some overnight in my dehydrator, and packed them in olive oil this morning. I have one more flat left that I had saved for myself, which I am probably going to make into spaghetti sauce and enchilada sauce for dinners this week. 

If I had been more ambitious, I really should have kept more than just 5 of the flats for myself and canned diced tomatoes and tomato sauce for our family, to save even more money in the future, but with it being close to Thanksgiving and me having a very busy "week off", I didn't think I could swing that.

Let it never be said I passed up a good deal! :)


  1. Wow...That's a LOT of tomaotes!

  2. WOW!!! What a great bargain! Sounds like you have been busy. Hope you and your family have a blessed Thanksgiving!!! :)

  3. That was a great deal ! Really good find. Enjoy. :)

  4. My family got about the same amount (if not more, my grandmother literaly had tomatoes all over her guest bedroom) from our little garden !
    I like tomatoes, the only problem is that sometimes, they rot a bit fast. That's very pleasant to eat like an apple, like a piece of fruit.

  5. AMAZING!!! You know just this weekend we were grocery shopping and our jaws were just dropping because it seemed everything had gone up so much. I mentioned to my husband how well you guys eat and organic and how you find these scores! He said I needed to find out how you do it..lol How did you find this connection?

  6. Okay, my eyes popped out of my head when I read "If I had been more ambitious...." Really?! What else can you fit into your day?
    I love tomato soup and since we are entering winter here in Illinois it is a perfect meal with grilled cheese. YUM!
    Enjoy your "time off" this holiday.

  7. Wow, what a bargin! We LOVE tomatoes! Our are finished for the year, but we got a lot of bolognese sauce made for the freezer!

    I've never made roasted tomato soup though...do you have the recipe already up?

  8. Will you put up your recipe for tomato soup on your blog?

  9. Since we have a garden, I know first hand that putting up tomatoes is a lot of work. They take a bit more effort than other vegetables, it seems. I was in disbelief when I first thought that you planned on putting up all 380 pounds by yourself before they spoiled! But yes, I agree that sharing them at $3 a flat is more than reasonable.

    I've raised some pretty tomatoes. These tomatoes are very nice. I know they'll be so yummy!

  10. I remember my grandfather always raised what we called 'tommy toes' in his backyard...

    What being said--salsa. So. much. salsa. I know your family is keen on Tex-Mex style food. If you can have the luck to find the other ingredients, I wish your food processor a busy day!

    I pray you and yours had a joyous Thanksgiving,


  11. ...preserves? Lots and lots of preserves?

  12. My dad grew a lot of tomates in his garden and we canned so many different things with the crop--I loved canning with my mom and so happy to have this skill that she taught all us girls (6 girls).

    Can you share your enchilada sauce recipe? I have a verde sauce make with tomatillos, but I have yet to find a red sauce we like.

    Happy Thanksgivings.


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