Lipman gives away tomatoes - The Packer

Lipman gives away tomatoes

08/15/2012 10:25:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier

In an effort to dispel recent critiques in the media about the flavor of tomatoes, Immokalee, Fla.-based grower shipper Lipman is giving tomatoes away.

The grower-shipper plans to give free samples of its Vintage Ripe heirloom tomatoes through its website,, and it’s donating tomatoes to local schools.

The company, which says it’s North America’s largest field-grown tomato grower, launched the giveaway to offer consumers “true tomato taste,” according to a news release.

Media reports in the last year have questioned the flavor of commercially grown tomatoes, after a book on the subject, “Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit,” by Barry Estabrook, was published in June 2011.

“In recent months, there’s been a lot of talk about how today’s tomatoes are ‘flavorless,’” Kent Shoemaker, Lipman’s chief executive officer, said in the release. “It’s time to set the record straight, which is why we’re giving away samples of our most flavorful tomato, the Vintage Ripe. Specially grown for that authentic tomato taste, we’re confident this variety will deliver the flavor consumers long for.”

Through Sept. 14, Lipman is encouraging consumers to register to win free two-pack samples.

Earlier in the year, Lipman started, a consumer-focused website.

The site features tomato facts, nutrition information and recipes from food bloggers created for Lipman.

Lipman also distributed 700 backpacks to Immokalee children during the Collier County Sheriff Office’s “National Night Out” event and the company collected school supplies through the April Homerun Harvest softball tournament.

Other grower-shippers contributing to the effort included Homestead, Fla.-based DiMare Co., Palmetto, Fla.-based Pacific Tomato Growers Ltd., and Taylor & Fulton Packing LLC.

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Esteban Hernandez    
Nogales, Az  |  August, 16, 2012 at 10:38 AM

Shame on you Six Ls, get it thru your heads that nothing beats a Merxican grown tomato.

Sandy Robinson    
Redland, Florida 33031  |  August, 17, 2012 at 09:42 AM

Excuse me sir: The Homestead 47 has a better taste and a much longer shelf life. The U of Florida researchers do a marvelous job in agriculture. Buy Florida Fresh

USA  |  August, 16, 2012 at 12:10 PM

What is the percentage of the giving away samples of our most flavorful tomato, the Vintage Ripe compared to the total amount of raised tomatoes?

Lakeland, FL  |  August, 16, 2012 at 05:21 PM

Best tomatoes ever: TastyLees, developed by reseachers at the University of Florida (30% more lycopene thand the regular round tomatoes, exceptional taste) and grown by a handfull of FL growers and Procacci Bros' Ugly tomatoes, the nest flavor of all

USA  |  August, 16, 2012 at 07:50 PM

The Vintage Ripe is a breed close to Ugly Ripes, same breeding program

Juan Carlos Amerdal    
McAllen  |  August, 16, 2012 at 08:23 PM

Good start, however that variety is not mainstream. Perhaps with enough demand retailers will stock it vs the low flavor high margin rounds and romas they carry. GH tomato sales data proves that people will pay more for better tasting product if you make it available.

California  |  August, 17, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Lycopene content doesnt always equate to better flavor. The brix levels is a better indicator of the flavor sweetness. One of the best tomatoes I have ever tasted (going on 14 years in the tomato business) was a small orange mini plum greenhouse tomato. Which has very little lycopene content and a higher carotene content. Variety has a lot to do with it, but so does the way its grown. Just because its an heirloom, dont automatically assume it has a superior taste. Most heirlooms are prefered for cooking more for their "meatiness" than their actual taste profile.

Lakeland, FL  |  August, 17, 2012 at 01:13 PM

You took my comment on the TastyLees lycopene percentage out of context. I only mentioned this characteristic as a nutritional plus of this great flavored tomato. You probably meant the same regarding the carotene content of your orange mini plum.

Fernando de Saracho Sr.    
Culiacan Mexico  |  August, 18, 2012 at 04:53 AM

When growing for S&H in the mid 60's, we used the Marglobe variety one that still renders memories of a great tasting tomato.

AZ  |  August, 18, 2012 at 07:22 PM

Come on Ben, Florida will never admit that this is a publicity stunt not at all based on reality or data... They only care that they get publicity such as this article.

AZ  |  August, 18, 2012 at 07:28 PM

In response to Kents comments in the story, you don't hear people saying that "today's tomatoes" are flavorless. That is a gross misrepresentation of reality. You hear people saying that your typical Florida tomato, aka gassed-green tomatoes, are flavorless. It is impossible to generalize and say that no one in Florida can produce a good tasting tomato. It IS however factually correct that the vast majority of tomatoes (not the ones being given away by Lipman) are cultivated for reasons other than flavor. They are placeholder tomatoes serving to look like a tomato, and that's about it.

J. Oliver    
Rio Rico AZ  |  August, 20, 2012 at 07:42 AM

Fernando those were coconuts you were growing in the 60's

Benton City WA  |  August, 20, 2012 at 01:44 PM

As a home gardener, I spent many years looking for a good flavored tomato that is good to eat and be used in salsa. I would never buy tomatoes in the store for salsa since they have virtually no flavor at all. When the final freeze takes out my plants in the fall, I dread the thought of having to buy store bought tomatoes. As an apple grower, there is a difference in flavor in a tree ripened apple versus what is picked for storage which is picked a little greener.

August, 20, 2012 at 07:25 PM

Breeding thinks its not an authentic heirloom tomato. Why do you have to give them away?

North Carolina  |  August, 25, 2012 at 11:11 PM

I don't think that it is an heirloom either. But the Vintage Ripe is being promoted, and sold as an heirloom and has caused real heirloom farmers a great loss of business in chain stores who sell the Vintage Ripes as heirlooms using heirloom PLU numbers. Chain stores are using them to replace local heirlooms on their shelves. This is mislabeling. If they are true heirlooms, where can we get the seed, they sure didn't prove true to seed on my farm this summer and everyone knows that heirlooms are true to seed.

North Carolina  |  August, 25, 2012 at 11:22 PM

Heirloom? I don't think so. If so, where are the seed available, they sure aren't true to seed. They are being sold as heirlooms, however: using heirloom PLU numbers, and being promoted as heirlooms. This has caused a disaster for local, true heirloom farmers who lost their business to local chain stores who stopped buying local heirlooms, prefering the cheaper Vintage Ripe ... uh, fake heirlooms. False labeling, misrepretation of product . . . looks like a problem brewing for 6 L's.

Texas  |  September, 17, 2012 at 04:30 PM

I'm with you Esteban.....just the tomato cartel making noise

midwest  |  November, 20, 2012 at 07:30 PM

Conversely, appropriate selected parentage can produce hybrids with heterosis for flavor. It's easy to breed something sweet. The Tasti-Lee tomatoes maybe sweet but they lack the background flavor character that really makes a good tomato. It is not just the sugar/acid balance that makes the difference. And TomatoGuy is correct - how they are grown also makes a difference. If you want to kill flavor grow on plastic/drip.

May, 14, 2013 at 01:25 PM

You mean the Florida 47

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