Mid-Season Tomatoes 2001

Picking low level, sorting, layering from the top of the wires next to the roof glass - that's us for the next ten weeks left of this season as far as we are concerned. In the photographs you will see some green tomatoes. These are small rejects from trusses that did not set properly in March when the light was very bad. Quite depressing! But we have picked 4 1/2 tonnes so far. We have gone into kilos for the first time, although our 12 pound boxes were always sold in kilos by the wholesaler - EEC regulations. Now we have 6 kilo boxes and they are easier to pack and weigh. Hence the tonnes instead of tons!
It is amazing when you look along the rows of tomato plants that such a slim stem - only 1/2 inch in diameter - should be able to bear so much fruit and sustain it with nutrients metabolised day in and day out! All we do is to make sure that the right conditions are there - or almost - and away they go, surmounting hazards of low heat or non-heat, if something goes down, or blazing sunshine. Just now the weather has been really summerish for the UK with temperatures in the mid twenties centigrade, but just as suddenly as that appeared last week we are now into showery, troubled and unpredictable weather at 14 degrees.
More seriously last week saw a halving of the wholesale price of tomatoes. We are getting just 20 pence a pound or 2.80 for a 6 kilogramme box. It has to change of course - or that is the growers psychology when these untoward price drops on the market occur. Of course we know how this one happened - the Dutch growers flooded the small UK market and lo! the whole price structure collapsed overnight. Are you keen to become a grower?! It needs conviction and dedication beyond the normal. There is an election in the UK this week. Let us hope that a new government will begin to think about the growers who provide the nation's food.

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