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Author Topic: Organic tomatoes vs. Hothouse/Greenhouse tomatoes  (Read 23570 times)

Offline amyf446

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Organic tomatoes vs. Hothouse/Greenhouse tomatoes
« on: June 02, 2014, 02:19:51 PM »
My preference is always an organic, summer grown tomato, yum!  But for those that insist on tomatoes year around, I'm wondering what to recommend.  Are the hothouse/greenhouse tomatoes assumed to be grown without pesticides? or does it depend on the grower? I notice that some labels for hothouse/vine tomatoes will say Certified Pesticide Free and some don't say anything (when it isn't labeled, I take that as it DOES have pesticides, but perhaps I'm wrong).  Does anyone know the official word on this?

Offline JadaH

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Re: Organic tomatoes vs. Hothouse/Greenhouse tomatoes
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2014, 09:22:21 AM »
If the fruit is not labeled as organic it is safe to assume that it has pesticides present. There is a great book - A Field Guide to Buying Organic that offers detailed information on many foods and speaks to their growing conditions. It covers both the conventional and organic operation so that you can make your decision with as much information as you can.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2017, 12:54:16 PM by Technical Coordinator »
Jada K. Hughey, NC, RYT
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BC Nutrition Faculty, Santa Cruz, Ca

Offline jodi f.

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Re: Organic tomatoes vs. Hothouse/Greenhouse tomatoes
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2014, 08:44:47 AM »
Boy, we are really losing the sense of seasonality, aren't we? But regardless, when offered, people will buy the foods they love, and tomatoes always seem to top that list.

I live in Tehachapi, where CalOrganics maintains hundreds of acres of vegetable crops. They've also installed what I believe is the country's largest greenhouse devoted to year-round tomato growing. You can see a short video on it here:

I can't find information on what, specifically, they're feeding these tomatoes, but they're grown in a good, natural medium, and they're managed (as you'll see in that video) with beneficial insects. I know CalOrganics to be a responsible grower, as well as supportive of their neighboring community (they open a stand for us in the summer. The size, freshness, and prices of their produce are not to be believed.). In their row crops, they don't monocrop. That is, they grow lettuces, chard, and cole crops (that's what they grow up here) in small alternating blocks. They also follow good rotational practices. All this to say that that probably speaks well for how they raise the tomatoes.

I suggest always looking for organic, which means it'll probably be CalOrganics. The problem with the "no pesticides" label is that, while that part's no doubt true, if it's not organic, then they're using synthetic liquid fertilizers, which are generally petroleum-based and limited in scope. Conventional growers tend to use only those nutrients that improve size, color, and other visible qualities. I can only speak for CalOrganics, and not other organic growers, but I found out a little about their fertilizing techniques from this PowerPoint presentation (, which helped me appreciate them even more.

Doesn't all this make it seem all the more important to know who's growing our food?