Commodity: Organic Tomatoes

Contents:

PLUs:

  • 93061

    beefsteak

  • 94063

    small, 6x6 size and smaller

  • 94064

    large, 5x6 size and larger

  • 94796

    cherry, red

  • 94797

    cherry, yellow

  • 93146

    cherry, on the vine

  • 93147

    cherry, yellow, on the vine

  • 93150

    cocktail/intermediate, red

  • 93335

    cocktail/intermediate, red, on the vine

  • 93336

    cocktail/intermediate, plum/Italian/saladette/roma, on the vine

  • 94798

    greenhouse/hydroponic, small

  • 94799

    greenhouse/hyrdoponic, large

  • 94087

    plum/Italian/saladette/roma, red

  • 93145

    plum/Italian/saladette/roma, yellow

  • 93282

    plum/Italian/saladette/roma, on the vine

  • 94805

    vine-ripe, small (6x6 and smaller)

  • 93151

    vine-ripe, large (5x6 and larger)

  • 94778

    yellow

  • 93148

    yellow, on the vine

  • 94664

    on the vine

  • 94803

    teardrop/pear

  • 94804

    teardrop/pear, yellow

Commodity Overview

Organic tomato sales continue to rise. They made up 5% of total tomato sales in 2015, and sales grew by more than 20% in 2016. Organic tomatoes are a category on the rise and worth investing time and energy in promoting.

Varieties

For more information on variety characteristics, visit our conventional tomatoes page.

Sales Strategies

Organic tomatoes offer plenty of opportunity for consumers to try them out. A staple in most households, tomatoes lend themselves to a variety of promotions. Include organic tomatoes in football game-day promotions, Cinco de Mayo sales and during the summer months as a quick, healthy addition to a BLT sandwich.

Organic tomatoes carry a higher price point than conventional product, so be sure to tell consumers why they cost extra. Include signs that explain the extra handling and labor that go into selling organically grown tomatoes. Consider sourcing some locally grown product during the summer and having the grower come in and talk to consumers about organic growing practices.

Dynamic Displays

Offer consumers a variety of organic options in your display. Include beefsteak, roma, grape and cherry varieties. Heirloom tomatoes are popular with organic consumers, so consider adding some locally grown heirloom varieties when they are in season.

Consider creating a display of organic salad vegetables with tomatoes as a colorful centerpiece. Pair organic tomatoes with organic avocados and lemons for a great color contrast and to encourage consumers to make homemade guacamole.

Like conventional tomatoes, display organic tomatoes on an unrefrigerated table. Don’t dump or stack tomatoes on the display as they can bruise from the added weight.

In The Backroom

Shipping

Organic tomatoes are available in 6x6 two-layer trays and 6x6 and 7x7 three-layer trays. Organic cherry tomatoes are available in 12, 1-pint clamshells. On-the-vine tomatoes are often available in 11-pound and 15-pound cartons. Hot house tomatoes are often available in 15- and 20-pound cartons.

Grades

Fresh tomatoes
U.S. No. 1
U.S. combination
U.S. No. 2
U.S. No. 3

Greenhouse
U.S. No. 1
U.S. No. 2

Handling

•    Temperature: mature-green or pink, 62 to 68 F, 16.7 to 20 C
•    Relative humidity: 85-88% 
•    Mist: no
•    Typical shelf life: mature-green 21 to 28 days; pink, 7 to 14 days
•    Do not refrigerate
•    Highly sensitive to freezing injury. (Likely to suffer injury by one light freezing.)
•    Susceptible to chilling injury (Damage sometimes is not apparent until produce is returned to a higher temperature. At temperatures below 55 F, 13 C, tomatoes are subject to chill injury and lose flavor quickly.)
•    Never stack more than two layers high, and keep product stem up to protect tomato shoulders.
•    Because most tomatoes are picked mature but not totally ripe, they will continue ripening in transit. Tomatoes produce ethylene, a hormone that stimulates ripening. If tomatoes have not reached the appropriate color by the time they reach the local distribution center, their ripening process will be speeded up.
•    Ethylene treatment applied at shipping point starts the ripening process and assures more uniformly ripe fruit upon arrival at the destination point and shortens the period between harvest and display, therefore maintaining a higher degree of vitamin C.
•    When stacking containers in the back room, make sure to stack organic items at the top so residue from conventional produce doesn’t drip down onto the organic items.
•    Organic items can be stored side by side in the cooler as long as no product is touching and no residue can drip from the conventional onto the organic product.

Fresh Trends

Nutrition Labels

Find Companies