Demand runs high for Florida's grape, cherry tomatoes - The Packer

Demand runs high for Florida's grape, cherry tomatoes

12/06/2013 11:57:00 AM
Doug Ohlemeier


Cherry tomatoes

Fall cherry tomato production began in early October, and DiMare characterized quality as high.

Cherry tomatoes are seeing gains in demand, DiMare said.

“We have had some foodservice trade switch back into and demand cherries again for use in salads,” he said. “Cherries are an excellent eating quality tomato and said the variety works well with restaurants and chefs that want something that eats well.”

Both varieties sell well for Wimauma-based Tomato Thyme Corp.

“Grape tomato sales are really growing. So are cherries,” said Michael Lacey, director of sales and marketing. “The pint business can become competitive because everyone has it and everyone’s growing grapes. Not everyone, however, sells them in 4-ounce containers, which make it catchy. We are seeing some requests from the schools for the 4-ounce packages.”

Cherry tomatoes retain reasonable demand, Pacific’s Esformes said.

“It’s one of those items that people either use or they don’t,” he said. “It’s not a big item but it is a tomato product.”

Taste helped grape tomatoes overtake cherries in popularity, said Chuck Weisinger, president and chief executive officer of Fort Myers-based Weis-Buy Farms Inc.

“It seems like more people want the flavor of the grape tomato than the tartness of the cherries anymore,” he said. “But there still is some demand. They’re like cucumbers. You have a certain amount of people who still want them. Cherries are in a niche market at this point because everyone’s using grapes.”

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