|Do you remember
the first time you tasted a Hale Farms tomato?
many people, experiencing that sweet, tantalizing
goodness for the first time opened their eyes to what a
tomato could be, and made it very difficult to be
satisfied with an ordinary tomato again. Well,
that intense sweet flavor and perfect texture is the result of "pampering" our tomatoes from the time we
select our seeds until the ripened tomato is ready to pick
from the vine.
The Pampered Tomato Story...
|Only healthy seeds from the
most reputable seed companies are started in our potting
mix. After seed germination,
the tomato seedlings are placed under fluorescent lighting
and the moisture and temperature closely monitored for
optimum growing conditions. During the next 4 to 6
weeks the top of the tomato seedling or transplant is
lightly brushed or "petted" to simulate the wind, resulting
in a stockier plant that quickly adapts to its new environment
when it is transplanted to the
|The field is prepared by
laying drip irrigation lines on top of 8" ridges
which are then covered with black plastic. The
drip irrigation ensures adequate moisture throughout the
plant's development, while the black plastic helps heat up the
soil in early spring, conserves water during the summer
by reducing soil evaporation, and prevents weeds from
growing in the rows and competing with the tomatoes for
light, moisture and nutrients.
|The tomato transplant is
placed into the prepared ground and surrounded by a metal
cage, which provides support for its heavy fruit as
it matures on the vine. The lower 12" of each cage is
initially wrapped in clear plastic to reduce stress to the
plant from spring winds and cooler temperatures. After
3 to 4 weeks the plastic is removed from the cage to allow
good air circulation around the plant, which protects it
against the fungal
diseases common in our humid Midwest climate.
|Adding rich, organic compost to the soil prior to planting the tomatoes helps
insure adequate nutrients are readily available to the plant
throughout fruit development. By protecting against
excessive amounts of nitrogen in the soil that would
cause the plant and fruit to grow too rapidly, each tomato
has time to develop maximum sweetness and
Hale Farm tomatoes are always left on the vine to ripen
until their full flavor is produced, but it doesn't end
there. After harvesting, the
tomatoes are carefully hand-washed and stored at temperatures between 60 F and 75 F.
This means all of that delicious flavor is retained
until final delivery to our customers.