US (IL): First harvest of local Chicago tomatoes

“In about a week, our first tomatoes on the vine will be harvested,” says Gary Lazarski with MightyVine. The tomatoes are grown in a newly built 7.5-acre greenhouse in Rochelle, Illinois and will be supplied to local restaurants and retail stores in the urban areas of Chicago, Milwaukee and Madison, WI. “Because we are so close to Chicago, we can truck our tomatoes in on the same day they are picked,” said Lazarski. “This allows us to leave the tomatoes on the vine until they are fully ripened, resulting in an excellent quality product.” The company’s business model is to build a brand for urban customers that are looking for high quality, local tomatoes year-round. 

Marketed to food retailers and restaurants
The tomatoes were planted in August and will be harvested non-stop throughout the year. “Up until now, our customers didn’t have fresh local tomatoes available during most of the year,” commented Lazarski. “We believe the best tomatoes are grown close to home and that’s why we are excited to introduce them to the Chicago market.” Lazarski said he is working with major retailers and restaurants to sell an estimated 4.5 million pounds of tomatoes annually. Local Foods, a wholesale distributor, retail grocer and partner company of MightyVine, is helping to get the tomatoes into the local market. “We are receiving great reception. Some of the top chefs in Chicago are very enthusiastic about being able to serve summertime quality tomatoes in the dead of winter,” said Lazarski.

Only North American grower of Roterno tomato
More than 95% of production consists of tomatoes on the vine. “We are North America’s only grower of the Roterno variety,” added Lazarski. The other five percent of production is made up of cherry tomatoes on the vine and a medley of smaller varietals. For cherry tomatoes, MightyVine grows the Robinio variety, a variety that the company has the exclusive growing rights for in North America. 

Vine cutting ceremony
On October 9, MightyVine will be celebrating its first harvest with a vine cutting ceremony. The company has invited buyers, media as well as local and statewide politicians for a ceremony and tour of the greenhouse.

For more information:
Gary Lazarski
Tel: (+1) 312-432-6573(+1) 312-432-6573
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