Originally from Central and South America, tomatoes have conquered the world. With more than 7,500 varieties, from the tiny grape tomato to the massive beefsteak, they come in all shapes, sizes and colours. A treasure trove of goodness, tomatoes are rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants. This versatile fruit, which we think of as veg, can be enjoyed fresh, cooked, dried or semi-dried in as many dishes as there are varieties….
Here are 6 of our favourites…
- Chilled Tomato Soup
- Haloumi & Pesto Tomato Stack
- Mediterranean Grilled Chicken & Tomato Stack
- Tomato and Olive Salad
- Tomato and Goat’s Cheese Tart
- Spicy Fish Tacos
Tomatoes are also great sliced on crusty white bread with a little black pepper and salt or with basil, oregano, chilli and chives. Cheese, bacon and tomato is another classic match, but for something different, try tomatoes and strawberries together in a salad (truss us, it’s delicious). Just don’t refrigerate them, they will lose their flavour!
A word from our Tomato Grower…
The perfect tomato has to smell right, says Chris Millis. “When you put your face close to the vine it has to smell like the garden,” he says. Chris is the farm manager of Flavorite in Warragul, Victoria, which grows 12,000 tonnes of tomatoes a year. Chris has had a lot of practice smelling, picking and eating tomatoes. “I never wanted a job in an office. I love growing things. I love taking a plant from seed right through to production and having a product that looks and tastes great,” Chris says. “We pick everything by hand and pack everything by hand. I really like the idea that we are producing fresh, healthy sustainable food.”
Besides truss and cherry tomatoes, Flavorite also grows capsicums, eggplants and Lebanese cucumbers in its glasshouses and has pioneered hydroponic farming. “The business was started by my father Mark and his mate Warren Nichol in 1993. Both families had a long history in the Melbourne market selling fruit and veg over three generations,” says Chris, who’s grandfather actually started supplying Coles with tomatoes back in the 1930s.
What started out as a company with five employees in 1993, now employs 170 people and spans 20 hectares. Sustainability is a high priority at Flavorite. It uses only 23 litres of water to produce one kilo of tomatoes, whereas a field grower would need 60 litres. The company also re-uses and recycles its water, which is something Chris is very proud of. Yet for Chris, the best thing about growing tomatoes is the simple pleasure. “It’s that feeling you get when you grow something yourself and are proud of it,” he says. “And then you eat it … in a toasted ham, cheese and cherry tomato sandwich.”