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Do you like Tomatoes? Have you ever even tried one?  I grew up in a home where both my parents worked and my sister and I were raised on fast food.  I had gone my whole life (over 30 years) without eating tomatoes.  I've now learned that there are so many different ways you can incorporate tomatoes. With those different ways, come different tastes.  Fresh tomatoes on a salad, juicy sliced tomatoes on a burger, sun-dried tomatoes (one of my fav ways of adding them to pasta), and then there is my favorite - fish ceviche with tomatoes! Tomatoes are one of those foods that many may not know much about. Where they come from, how they are handled and cared for.  The Florida Tomato Committee has just launched to help consumers learn more about how the Florida tomato family of growers carefully and thoughtfully grow Florida tomatoes on family run farms that make them so nutritious, delicious and different from the rest.  

What makes Florida tomatoes so good...and so good for you?

  • For generations, our growers have been the true stewards of the land and thoughtfully care for the people that work in the fields and in the packinghouses.
  • Florida tomatoes are field-grown, handpicked, grown in the warm Florida sunshine.
  • Florida growers care for their employees, providing safe and positive working environment including supporting community charitable organizations.
  • Food safety is a top priority for Florida growers, employees and the Florida tomato industry.
  • Florida growers are committed to socially accountable responsible farming practices.
  • Each Florida field-grown tomato shipped from Florida is regulated by a Federal Marketing Order that controls grade, size, quality and maturity. The standards are the toughest in the world and ensure that Florida tomatoes are the best you can buy.
  • A medium sized Florida tomato is high in vitamin C and a good source of Vitamin A.
  • In addition to being fat-free, a medium sized Florida tomato is low in sodium, contains one gram of fiber and meets 10 percent of your daily potassium needs.
  • Florida tomatoes are also the most widely available source of lycopene – a natural antioxidant.
  • By incorporating Integrated Pest Management (IPM) into farming practices. IPM allows growers to use GOOD bugs to control pests (BAD BUGS) that threaten our crops – rather than chemical applications. The most often used control for pests are naturally occurring in biological controls. Using disease forecasting models also help to eliminate the need for chemical applications.
  • Most of our Florida farm acreage is drip and micro-irrigated, minimizing the use of water. Drip irrigation in our farming practices reduces water consumption on the farm by 70%. With drip irrigation delivering water directly to the plant – weed populations are also greatly reduced. Growers also use computer technology to establish fertilization programs that nourish the plants based upon specific environmental factors. Computer technology in conjunction with drip irrigation ensures the tomato plant uses the least amount of water possible while retaining the health of the plant.
  • By planting cover crops and using land rotation, our growers care for the soil and make it possible to farm the same land for several generations. An example of an important cover crop is growing sorghum. This organic matter is folded back into the ground, helping to reduce weed production, while also improving soil quality.
  • By using fuel-efficient vehicles and adopting low-till farming strategies to reduce tractor trips through the fields, our growers are committed to reducing emissions.
  • Florida growers employ recycling programs that ensure cardboard and plastic materials are recycled throughout the year, and whenever possible bio-degradable products are also used.
  • Florida tomato growers invest in research for newer tomato varieties that require less water and fertilizers, resulting in more sustainable farming practices.

About the Florida Tomato Committee
The Florida Tomato Committee is a Federal Marketing Order that was established pursuant to Federal Marketing Agreement and Order No. 966 as amended regulating the handling of tomatoes and has authority over the tomatoes grown in Florida’s production area comprising the counties of Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk, Osceola, Brevard and all counties situated south. It affects tomatoes that are shipped outside the regulated area, which includes that portion of the state of Florida situated east of the Suwanee River and south of the Georgia border.

The Committee funds research and development projects and marketing promotions that focus on maximizing Florida tomato movement, including consumer and marketing research and customized marketing programs.