Fresh From The Source: The Tomato Stall September 26, 2019

by Rebecca Down Sustainability

Our are the best-tasting, juiciest, most delicious ones we could find. Yes, we may be biased…but let us introduce you to the growers behind our favourite fruits…

Based on The Isle of Wight, where its sunny climate is perfect for tomato growing, The Tomato Stall pride themselves on growing some of the best tomatoes in the country. We have been working with The Tomato Stall since our earliest days, and the quality and taste of their tomatoes is loved by many of our customers: 

We had such wonderful feedback from our customers about Paul’s tomatoes: I remember being in my Nonno’s vegetable patch in Aosta and eating tomatoes like apples. I’m very fussy about tomatoes now and these smelled just like my Nonno’s.

– Jane Chiarello, HelloFresh customer.

On a recent trip to The Tomato Stall, we caught up with Paul, our tomato grower, and Brian – the head agronomist. We make these visits to our suppliers regularly, to plan future recipes going into our boxes, as well as learning about the new and innovative techniques our suppliers are using to produce the best quality ingredients possible. The Tomato Stall’s entire growing system is completely biodegradable, from the coconut husk that the plants are grown in, to the string that supports the plants. They also compost all of their plant waste and use the resulting compost to enrich the soil. This has helped to reduce fertiliser inputs, improve soil fertility and structure which results in more delicious tomatoes.

Over a delicious lunch of…you guessed it, juicy tomatoes, we quizzed Paul about the roots of The Tomato Stall…

So, how did The Tomato Stall all begin?

The Tomato Stall began on the Isle of Wight in the summer of 2007. We loaded our first van with a selection of our favourite tomato varieties and headed to our first farmers market in London. This gave us a fantastic opportunity to showcase the range of speciality tomatoes grown on our nursery… For many of the customers it was the first time they had seen such an array of tomatoes; on the vine, baby plum, yellow cherry, tiger, beefsteak and our own take on the classic tomato ketchup… The word spread and we soon found ourselves trading at farmers’ markets across the city and beyond. We now supply our famous Isle of Wight Tomatoes to foodies and top chefs across the country.

What makes your tomatoes so delicious?

We grow only to create the fullest flavour tomato we possibly can. We also believe in not standing still and every year we trial hundreds of new varieties, just to find the next best tomato. Probably what makes our tomatoes really excellent is the amazing response we have from customers who tell us that our tomatoes taste just like the tomatoes from their childhood, when tomatoes really tasted like tomatoes! Can’t get any better than that!

We heard about the exciting things HelloFresh were doing and the rest is history. We love being part of the journey and seeing what recipes the team are going to create next with our tomatoes…!

– Paul, our tomato grower

Sustainability is central to how you operate, can you tell us more about how it works?

We have an entire growing system that is completely bio­degradable, we use natural predators to control pests and we have a team of bumblebees that are native to the UK looking after the pollination of all our plants. We also hold Conservation Grade status which means we give 10% of our land back to natural habitats.

What’s your favourite way to eat tomatoes?

Simple, sliced and seasoned to be used in a wonderful fresh salad.

Have you got a favourite HelloFresh recipe using your tomatoes?

It’s got to be the Chorizo and Prawn Spaghetti with Fresh Vine Tomatoes! A match made in heaven with our tomatoes.

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