Too many tomatoes.
You say tomato, retailers say “too many”. As part of our #TomatoTuesday series, we booked in a ketchup with James at Thanet Earth to find out why their tomatoes have been cropping up in our boxes.
O: Hi James. Tell us about your tomatoes – what variety do you have “too many” of?
J: Over the last few weeks Oddbox has been rescuing our Sunstream tomatoes – a midi-sized, on-the-vine variety with a juicy texture, which is great in salads. It’s one of many varieties we grow under glass for retail contracts.
O: Sounds tomato-ly delicious! So how have you ended up with more than you can sell?
J: Following a crop flush, plus a stall in the summer weather which has led to pretty-slow retail sales, we’ve been left with a big surplus.
Oddbox has rescued over 2,000kg from us over the last few weeks, with lots more to come! It really helps us that Oddbox can move at speed, and with a very straightforward way of operating.
O: So what would happen to these tomatoes without us?
J: Some of them would likely end up as waste. But we also sell produce on the wholesale market and distribute lots to local charities too.
O: Can you tell us a bit more about those destinations?
J: Sure. As well as retailers, we work with processing businesses who buy our class 2 produce to use in products like salad bowls and pastas. We also work with local farm shops and wholesalers to give us more options. And we have strong relationships with Fareshare and 15 local charities.
O: That’s cherry good to hear. What else can growers do to tackle food waste and climate change at farm level?
J: Monitoring and tracking waste is hugely important. We capture data across our greenhouse and packhouse areas to make sure we’re wasting less each year, and we’re working closely with retailers to improve forecasting. We also have a committee which is focused entirely on sustainability – we’ve just installed over 2,500 solar panels and recently moved 50% of our crop lighting to LED.
O: Thanks James! We’re chuffed to be able to help and can’t wait to try a Sunstream tomato.
Spotted any of Thanet Earth’s tomatoes in your box? Check out our recipes section for everything from salads to sauces to skewers – and don’t forget to share your juicy creations using #OddIsGood.