Local News

Tomato sales up at state Farmer's Market

Posted June 19, 2008

— North Carolina farmers say they are seeing a boost in sales of tomatoes following a salmonella scare that has prompted restaurants across the nation to pull tomatoes off their menus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that 383 people in 30 states have gotten sick by eating salmonella-tainted tomatoes, and the agency's food safety expert said he does not think the outbreak is over.

Tomatoes grown in North Carolina, however, are among ones from 30 or so states and countries cleared by the federal Food and Drug Administration as being safe.

Sellers say tomatoes are in high demand.

"It's shot business up around here – I mean, incredibly," said Katie Mundt, who sells produce at the Farmers Market in Raleigh.

North Carolina tomatoes were among the first on the FDA's safe list – good news for local growers.

"(Sales are) picking up," another seller at the Farmer's Market, Tammy Parker, said. "I mean, they say it's cheaper and they trust these more than they do in the stores."

The benefit goes beyond a boost at the market.

Some local farmers say more big chain stores and restaurants are buying from North Carolina this year.


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  • oldschooltarheel Jun 20, 2008

    dsal - go right now & buy the biggest 2 gallon pot of tomato plants you can. Tomatoes are set out when tiny after our last frost date - back in April. Get big plants now & you can still plant them.
    Think we'll ever be told the source of those tainted 'maters? I suspect it will be the dance of "them are good, them are good" until folks just forget about a HUGE contamination issue with an ODD strain of Salmonella (StPaul). Deliberate contamination of a widely distributed ubiquitous food like tomatoes is something Al Quaida had discussed & was reported on - they were looking at botulism in canned tomatoes (dumb b/c of pH issues). Maybe they learned...

  • shine Jun 20, 2008

    The problem is not with the US - it is the imports that are less expensive - the 'chain' restraurants buy outside for a better bargain. The imports do not have the restrictions that the US carries.

  • dsal68 Jun 19, 2008

    John Q Public
    We want to plant some vegtables on our back yard, when is a good time to plant tomatos?

  • John Q Public Jun 19, 2008

    The tomatoes in my backyard are approved by the FDA as well, but only I'm approved to eat them :) What a money saver my veggie garden will be this year!

  • dsal68 Jun 19, 2008

    does anyone know how much a lbs at the farmers market? I need to buy some, they are $2.50 lbs at the store.

  • owlady Jun 19, 2008

    Just how do they trace this outbreak to tomatoes? It will be nice when my local restaurant Sweet Tomatoes puts tomatoes back on the salad bar. Why can't they get them from NC too?
    They just raised their prices and we still don't get tomatoes? Come on now!