Adventures in Tomato Picking!

Tomato Picking_Apollo Beach_FL

Have you ever heard of tomato picking?

I never had prior to moving down to Florida! What?!

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During a recent around town running weekend errands, I noticed a big sign saying “U Pick Tomatoes” on the main road that runs through town. I was intrigued so I stopped by later that day to check it out.

I quickly learned that picking tomatoes is just as fun as picking apples. But no delicious cinnamony pie when you get home.

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I grabbed about 10 pounds of tomatoes, just for a $1 a pound. Perfect!!!

It was so much fun that I went back this past weekend with Autumn.

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We grabbed a 5- gallon bucket ($15), followed the field manager down past endless rows to the “U-pick” area.

The fields produce Florida 47 tomatoes, which is the top commercially produced and sold in the US because of its taste, appearance, and large fruit (avg 10 oz each). It’d bright red and dense, making it hold up well after harvest. While it’s commonly grown in commercial fields in the Eastern US, it is starting to take root with back yard gardeners as well.

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Once we were guided to the rows where we could pick, we quickly got to work spotting red tomatoes among the bushy leaves and green tomatoes not yet ripened.

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Autumn did well at first with picking the tomatoes off the bushes and gently placing them in the bucket but her interest waned and she was more interested in getting into the donuts still in that car that she picked out at the grocery store before we went to pick the tomatoes.

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Thankfully, she remembered she loves tomatoes and took a moment to enjoy one.

When we got home I unloaded out 3 very full grocery bags of tomatoes and then got to work on making 2 batches of a Roasted Tomato Soup that was inspired from Chrissy Teigen’s new cookbook, Cravings. Epic!

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The fields are about a mile from my dad’s house so I am going to be making frequent trips there to get more tomatoes, peppers, and watermelons (coming in June!).

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Check out the tomatoes here in Apollo Beach, FL just across from the Winn Dixie in the Mira Bay Villages Shopping Center. They are open on the weekends 8am-4pm until the end of June and then they open up again in the Fall.

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