View our Wholesale Listing. Somebody has got to do this after we're gone. High sugar content gives the tomato a bland taste. Like many farms in Grainger County in East Tennessee, the Stratton Tomato Farm grows the crop in both fields and greenhouses. That means that they are picked green, run through washing and grading machines that would bruise a ripe tomato, put in coolers and exposed to ethylene gas which makes them ripen. Available: Strawberries, Beans, … 'We use greenhouses to get on the market as early as possible and stay as late as possible,' said Howard Morgan. Get directions, reviews and information for Williams Hubert Tomato Packers in Rutledge, TN. People wonder what is happening to honey bees world-wide. By this time, a week to 10 days has passed before they are shipped to distribution centers and then to chain stores, which makes them close to two weeks old before the consumer can buy them. People, as a majority, seem to feel good about this system except the family farmer and the ones who see this new system for what it is. R&C Farm Grainger County, Tennessee Randle Pierce is a 2nd generation Farmer and his Dad and his family started farming Tobacco and Tomatoes back in 1960. Steve Longmire, of Tennessee Homegrown Tomatoes, had his first field of tomatoes when he was 7 years old. One of the things our farmers have been able to boast about is the fact that our product is picked one day and delivered to the grocery store shelf the next day. The Morgans sell a variety of tomato known as 'Empire' that's commonly grown by Grainger County growers. View on a Map. I'm proud to be part of this. Of the 95 counties in Tennessee, Grainger County ranks 77th in terms of size. Now we provide acres of produce and other farm items to local vendors, grocers, individuals- both regionally and nationally. So when the fruit begins to fly at the Tomatoes Wars at the Grainger County Tomato Festival be glad it wasn't the potato that became the county's number one crop. (Photo: Adam Lau), Freshly picked tomatoes sit in Hubert Williams Farms' storefront in Rutledge, Tenn. on Wednesday, June 8, 2016. (ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL) (Photo: Adam Lau), Tomato greenhouses and farms dot hillsides outside Rutledge, Tenn., in Grainger County. Gas-green tomatoes have to be from 10 days to 2 weeks old by the time the consumer can purchase them. Ritter Farms has elected not to grow this genetically modified tomato that tastes like cardboard. Chain stores, produce markets, and consumers all over this country are free to choose the kind of tomato they want to eat, but as for me and my family, we choose to grow the type of tomato that has a tomato taste, and we choose to grow it in a way that is safe for all those who choose to buy it and eat it. Crops: Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Beans, Peppers, Onions, Watermelons, Cantaloupe, Peas, Pumpkins … The south-central part of the county is ground zero for growing tomatoes. Region: East - Grainger County. Attention to safe practices is focused on everything from the quality of the soil where the tomatoes are grown, to the cleanliness of the packing facility, to the delivery to the markets. But when Grainger County farmers had to look to chain stores to market their tomatoes, all that changed. We even go into our stores and show their customers how to choose the best tasting tomato by looks and feel. These grants turn on in May of each year. Ritter and his wife, Nancy, grew Grainger County tomatoes for 45 years and now run a cattle operation. Thousands of tons daily go through this same water. Except for the family farms in Grainger County and in small agricultural counties in other areas of the United States, the majority of our produce on the grocery store shelves go through this process: produce is grown by corporate farms with thousands of acres and many farmers who funnel their produce through a central location called a packing house, processing plant, or receiver facility. TN (Grainger County) Phone 865-828-5690 Over the course of the season Longmire plants about 25 acres of tomatoes, which makes his a fairly typical sized operation for Granger County. They grow hundreds of acres of tomatoes and ship farther than we do, but we grow a different product than they do,' he said. Directions. 'If it wasn't for some of the shipping varieties, we'd never have tomatoes year round. A third reason that the Grainger County tomato has been a unique, much desired tomato is that Grainger County farmers have, until recent years, uniformly grown garden type varieties rather than shipping varieties. Ritter Farms is a second generation family farm. Vegetables tomatoes . As they looked to seed companies for tomatoes with the qualities demanded by chain stores, Grainger County farmers found that there were plenty to choose from, and Grainger County farmers experimented with many varieties. Zavels Family Farms. It will be misshapen, it will have moderate growth cracks, cat faces, and scaring. Jack Ritter, of Ritter Farms, is a longtime Grainger County tomato producer who agrees that the best way for consumers to know what they're getting is to make a trip to the farm. 'I played in the tomato fields. We have concentrated on going back to the old varieties we used to grow by using heirloom seeds. Morgan's Farm is located in southern Grainger County, TN. One reason is the agricultural practices used by the majority of the farmers in Grainger County. Grainger County tomatoes are known by almost every person within a 250 mile radius and by a great majority of people throughout the United States. Grainger County Farm. In reality, it has more to do with the rock outcroppings that dot the rolling hills. If I grew a hard, shipping tomato with no flavor, I'd be killing the Grainger County name.'. The Grainger County Tomato Grainger County tomatoes are tomatoes that are grown in the county of Grainger in the eastern part of the state of Tennessee. Call for additional directions. These companies are a fear factor within themselves because they are developing seeds and varieties of plants that are resistant to different kinds of harsh chemicals, such as insecticides and herbicides that, if an insect such as a honey bee were to pollinate that particular crop and carry the pollen back to its home, it would destroy the entire hive. We also feel that if these major chain stores must have the picture-perfect, hard-as-a-rock, cardboard-tasting tomato, then someone else will have to sell them this type of tomato because we have a dedication to the general public and to our customers to preserve the reputation of the Grainger County tomato and give them the best tasting tomato on the market. This is part of the burden we feel as a family concerned for the health and safety of our fellow Americans. 865-828-8365. strattonfarmstn@yahoo.com. The only way the farmers could survive and continue selling tomatoes to the chain stores was to sacrifice taste in order to meet the requirements of the inspectors. Some of the rows were covered in plastic, others mulched with straw. We explained that they were destroying the purpose of having a Grainger County tomato. In order to meet rigorous inspections at distribution centers, farmers have had to give up growing some of the typical garden type varieties because they wouldn't pass an inspection. If the government can tell you what you can eat and how it is grown, harvested, prepared, and sold, then the government has total control of our food supply, and we, as subjects of this country, are at their mercy. Yes, that Grainger County — where home-grown and carefully cultivated tomatoes have gained a brilliant reputation for taste and texture from coast to coast, if not beyond. For approximately 100 years, Grainger County has been noted for production of a tomato that has the same taste as the tomato you picked in your grandmother's garden. The county celebrates the tomato in an annual festival since 1992. There are two levels of funding: 35% and 50% cost-share dollars. Reviews (865) 828-3308. Tennessee Agriculture Enhancement Grant Program - These cost-share grants put money back onto the farm as investments to livestock handling equipment, registered bulls, hay storage barns, hay feeders and much more. 'I never went to day care,' Danny … The rest, he said, are a mix of 'shipping' varieties with less flavor but longer shelf life. Steve Longmire owns Tennessee Homegrown Tomatoes in Grainger County. Grainger County, nestled in the eastern part of Tennessee, has been growing tomatoes since the 40s which was then passed down through generations to create a variety of tomatoes … Hubert Williams has provided us with Grainger County tomatoes for over 20 years. It's a classic table tomato packed with flavor, but also somewhat delicate compared to hardier 'shipping' varieties. 'Locally, consumers know the stores and roadside markets. They are not hard as a brick, but they taste like a tomato rather than a piece of cardboard. The taste that keeps one coming back for more is from the acidic content of the tomato, not the sugar content. Grainger County's tomatoes are an agricultural success story on par with the sweet onions of Vidalia, Ga. photos by ADAM LAU/NEWS SENTINEL Anthony Carver, Grainger County agricultural extension agent, admires ripe tomatoes at Morgan Farms in Rutledge, Tenn. (Photo: Adam Lau), April and Betty Morgan, from left, sort freshly picked tomatoes into differently graded boxes at Morgan Farms in Rutledge, Tenn. on Wednesday, June 8, 2016. It is nothing more than an attempt to control our food supply by the federal government. Ritter said in the last five years he has seen hybrids, and even genetically modified strains, overtake the old-fashioned tomato as growers strive to meet the demands of major supermarkets. As we must educate our customers – the chain stores, and other retail markets we service must also educate the consumer who buys the product to take home and eat. Each operation is a vine ripe operation. In the county that’s home to the world-famous tomatoes, Red Barn Produce on U.S. Route 11-W in Grainger County serves as a community landmark and destination for fresh produce. Search for other Fruits & Vegetables-Wholesale in … The first product has a good chance to be clean because the bath water starts out clean and the equipment starts out clean. Sprinkled throughout the landscape were dark-green fields where the early season tomato plants were held up by stakes and twine. The only thing they could do was to choose the lesser of the evils of the genetically engineered tomato and grow the one with the least mealy, cardboard taste. We grow top-quality produce. Our Farm … This produce is washed in water baths or sprinkler systems that contain a certain amount of chlorine or some other disinfectant. 'You need to find the old growers, the people who stick to traditional farming practices and avoid chemicals,' Ritter said. John Mixon Farms started like most farms do- with one man and something to sell. In stores that carry our tomatoes, once educated and enabled to recognize our tomato for its looks and taste, we have seen sales increase from 10 to 50 percent. RUTLEDGE, Tenn. — Some say it's the mist off Cherokee Lake that gives Grainger County tomatoes their renowned texture and flavor. His tomatoes are some of the best you can find. He also provides us with okra, yellow squash, zucchini, and green beans. According to the University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension office, the county has about 70 tomato producers who grow their tomatoes in 600-plus greenhouses and about 500 acres of fields. Grainger County is limestone country, and it's the limestone-based soil that makes the tomatoes both sweet and tart. Come see us. 865-828-3308. Our first sales were to individual stores, then we were asked to deliver the tomatoes to a central distribution center. Howard Morgan said as the market has expanded, he has invested in refrigerated trucks with air-ride suspension that protect his tomatoes over the long haul. Region: East - Grainger County. In addition to those great-tasting Grainger County tomatoes, the Ritters grow a variety of garden vegetables which can be purchased as they're brought out of the field at the Big Red Barn on Hwy 11W between Bean Station and Rutledge, Tennessee. We use buffer zones between crops. Stratton Tomato Farm will be having early varieties of ripe tomatoes from the greenhouse on our farm starting in May. If you are interested in carrying our Grainger County Tomatoes, or other farm items, please inquire! ', 'This is hard work, and everything is expensive,' added Howard. Find 71 listings related to Clifton Farms Tomatoes in Rutledge on YP.com. We're listed in ASAP's Wholesale Local Food Guide, ASAP's Farm to Business Trade Directory. In the meantime, consumers are being trained to choose produce by its appearance and not its taste. 'We can ship a medium-grade flavor tomato with some extra shelf life to a restaurant in New Jersey, and when a customer puts that in their mouth, they'll swear it's the best tomato they've ever had,' Carver said. Who knew an ear of corn or fresh tomato could improve your health, your community and the environment, all at the same time? Hubert Williams Farm. 'I never went to day care,' Danny said. The last statistics I am aware of indicates that better than 80 percent of the tomatoes consumed in this country are gas-green tomatoes. They know the names of the farms. At Ritter Farms, we try to educate our consumers and especially young people who come to the farm in groups from their schools by letting them know what a garden variety tomato looks like and tastes like. The goings on at the Grainger County Tomato Festival These photos are representation of what is going on at The Grainger County Tomato Festival throughout the years.We have artists, great food, farmers, authors, living history camp, tomato wars and much much more. This change in the quality specifications and shelf life for the tomato has affected the choice of varieties that Grainger County farmers grow. Additional Information: Farm tours and school tours available. The Morgan tomato farm was started by Howard's father, James, a former zinc miner who switched to full-time farming in the late 1940s. This is not only true with tomatoes, but with other produce items as well. I don't get up every day dreading to go to work. Phone #'s: (865) 828-8316 Fax: (865) 828-3199. 'Everything we grow is an eating tomato that's soft and meaty. 6195 Hwy 92 Rutledge TN (Grainger County) Mailing Address. Like many Grainger County tomato producers, Howard Morgan Farms is a family operation. That simply means that our tomatoes are picked in a ripe stage and are ready to sell or eat. Please take a beautiful country drive to our mountainous county to visit with our farmers in their stores on their farms to buy those juicy tomatoes you love. Rutledge, TN 37861. Longmire said it was in the early 1980s when Grainger County tomatoes started to achieve widespread recognition and growers like himself started to branch out to other states. 'We grow our greenhouse tomatoes in the soil, and we stick with proven varieties.'. At first ,they wanted the Grainger County tomato for its name. It was July 27, 2016, and the temperature in Grainger County hovered at around 96 degrees. Grainger County. The Grainger County tomato is unique in its time from harvest to consumer. That's when the problems started. For many growers, the season stretches from mid-March to mid-December. Anthony Carver, Grainger County agricultural extension agent, said the county's greenhouse tomatoes are grown in the ground without the use of hydroponics. Carver said about 70 percent of Grainger County's tomatoes are the 'flavor' variety that's the most perishable. We have 2,100 boxes in the cooler ready to go out. Grainger County produce is direct from our farms to you. 'Right now we're gearing up for the Fourth of July. Over the years, Grainger County tomatoes have been a tomato that was desired above most other tomatoes because of their rich garden flavor and their homegrown appearance and texture. Tomatoes are the main commodity and these “World Famous Tomatoes” are highlighted annually the last weekend in July at the Grainger County Tomato Festival. We feel that this is the safer means of fertilizing our crops. Stores in this area had to have the Grainger County tomato because that's what people in this area wanted to buy. Major chain stores and produce outlets started demanding that produce, especially tomatoes, be picture-perfect and hard as a brick so it would keep on store shelves 15 to 30 days without decaying. Went to festival last weekend, unfortunately bought 2 boxes of homegrown tomatoes. Around thirty-thousand festival-goers across the state of Tennessee and the … Tennessee Homegrown Tomatoes is run by Steve Longmire. Grainger County is in the Eastern Region region. We're in a very rural community, a very rural area. At the Howard Morgan Farm, family members were busy packing into 25-pound boxes tomatoes that had been picked from the greenhouses that morning. The farmers in Grainger County are still growing and selling our world famous tomatoes and other amazing veggies. The decomposition of the limestone rock in this county adds alkalinity to the soil and gives it a pH that is very favorable for growing tomatoes. 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