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Florida Tomatoes

What happened to the Florida tomatoes? (long)

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What happened to the Florida tomatoes? (long)

FrankT | Mar 5, 2003 11:01 AM

Can some fellow Chowhound out there with more agricultural knowledge than I enlighten to me as to what is going on with the Florida tomato crops?In the past, at least for the 35 years I've lived here, the first tomatoes of the season (from Homestead) would appear in the farm stands about the end of September or early October. These were soon followed by the crop grown in Immokalee and then after the first of the year tomatoes grown in Ruskin would begin showig up. Soon the u-pic farms in western Broward and Palm Beach counties would be open. This supply would last until late spring. We then suffered thru a dry spell for a month or so until we begin getting tomatoes from Alabama & Georgia (average at best), followed by imports from the Carolinas & Tennessee (better), and finally the best of the bunch from New Jersey.All of the Florida crops were usually very good --- some years better than others depending on many variables. This all changed for the worse last year and has continued this season --- most of the tomatoes are large, perfectly shaped, and hard as rocks; not to mention mealy AND tasteless. They remain hard even after sitting on the sill for a week or ten days.What's up? The folks at the rapidly dissapearing farm stands and the now trendy farmer markets keep giving me a lot of B.S. when I ask ---- too much rain, not enough rain, too hot, too cloudy, too windy, El Nino, etc. Have they changed varieties? Too many nutrients & pesticides? Are they all being sent to the gas chamber at Raiford?Are we doomed to tasteless, supermarket-type tomatoes forever? Is there any hope? Can somebody provide an answer and tell me this isn't all a figment of my imagination?As an aside, I'm having the same vibes about this year's strawberry crop from Plant City ----- big, beautiful berries, but no FLAVOR!Are these just the musings of a senior citizen living in the past or is there some truth in my thoughts?Have they changed

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