After a slow start, Grainger County tomatoes are on the move
A cold snap three weeks ago slowed the ripening of tomatoes, but farmers said they are back on track.
RUTLEDGE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The famous Grainger County tomatoes have slowly hit shelves across the region.
This is Cole Larrance’s first year in the produce business. He’s opened Cherokee Produce and is ready to share the Grainger County tomato with customers.
“I’ve been around this produce for all my life,” said Larrance. “I’ve got a family up around Morgan farms.”
Farmers in Granger County said there was about a three-week window where production had slowed on the tomatoes. Now that warmer weather has come around, that production has resumed.
“We hit the cold spell there,” said Brandon Williams with Williams Farms. “It slowed things down and slowed things down on picking.”
“There’s about three weeks ago when they slowed down, but things are going wide open now for sure,” said Steve Longmire with Tennessee Homegrown Tomatoes. “This weather has changed, and that temps have got warm, and we’re rolling.”
Longmire has been growing tomatoes for 41 years. He said this has been the best picking week all season.
The hot houses do help, but he said the hot sun to the best.
“You can turn the heat if you need to. But still, there’s nothing like the good old sunshine to wrap them up and make them do good,” said Longmire.
Soon, the Grainger County tomato will hit produce stands across the region.
“It’s been good. I mean, these are greenhouse tomatoes, homegrown, so we’re selling a lot,” said Larrance.
The farmers expect the peak of the season to come at the end of July.
The Grainger County Tomato Festival is in July this year. It opens on Friday, July 21 at noon.
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