How Much Do Tomatoes Cost?
Tomatoes are among the most consumed food items in the country. While many people prefer growing them in their own backyard, there are many more who choose to buy them at the local grocery store or farmer’s market. Tomatoes are available in countless varieties, from the freshly-picked to the refrigerated types to canned tomatoes.
How much does it cost?
- On average, the price of tomatoes will usually be around $1 to $2 per pound at your local grocery store. The cost will depend on the type of tomato, where you’re purchasing it from and the time of year.
- State Farmers Market in Raleigh, North Carolina, offers the following tomato varieties and their prices. An extra large, 25 pound carton of vine-ripe tomatoes retails for $19 to $25. A 25-pound bag of plum roma tomatoes retails for $18 to $20. A flat 12 1-pint basket of Cherry tomatoes retails for $19 to $22. A flat 12 1-pint clamshell of grape tomatoes retails for $17 to $20.
- Harvey’s Groves, a family-owned grove located in Brevard County, Florida, offers tomatoes at $41.95 per 6 pounds, plus a shipping fee of $13.95.
What is going to be included?
- Fresh tomatoes can be bought per piece, pound, bag or box, depending on your choice and how many tomatoes you need. You can also buy canned tomatoes, which can be whole, diced, crushed or stewed. These are great for different recipes such as spaghetti.
What are the extra costs?
- When buying tomatoes online, you may be required to pay for shipping costs, especially if the items need to be shipped to states that are not covered by free shipping offers.
- When ordering from a farm, you may be charged for shipping and delivery cost. If you arrange to pick up the tomatoes at the farm, you may be able to eliminate this charge.
Factors that influence the price:
- Production. Prices for fresh tomatoes are usually low when growing conditions are good and when there is an increasing share of fresh tomato production originating from protected agriculture sectors such as greenhouses. Warm weather can also bring about a rise in supplies of high-quality fresh tomatoes, reducing the prices of the tomatoes even further. Likewise, an increasing diversity of tomato varieties, changes in market preferences and economic recession are also factors that pull tomato prices down.
- Season. Tomatoes are usually seasonal products, particularly those grown on fields. Tomato production is typically high during the hot season, resulting to higher prices. However, with protected agriculture, tomato production (usually called hothouse tomatoes) is typically prolonged to a certain extent and yields are generally much higher compared with open field production, thereby bringing prices down to a specific level.
- Availability. While tomatoes are seasonal plants, protected agriculture (shade houses and greenhouses) has resulted to low tomato prices as suppliers are able to provide tomatoes regardless of the time of year. In contrast, tomatoes supplied by local farmers and growers are not available all year long as they have the open-field type of production.
- Source. Commercially-grown tomatoes are often less expensive in comparison with those that are locally cultivated. Commercial tomatoes are produced in mass quantities while homegrown ones are usually limited, accounting for the difference in prices.
- Shipping-point price. The shipping-point price is regarded as having a direct link with the retail price of field-grown tomatoes. Changes in the shipping-point price have changed retail prices for tomatoes in certain periods. Labor costs, containers, fuel, transportation, power, rent and advertising expenses are usually taken into account in the retail tomato pricing.
Tips to know:
- Most supermarkets sell commercially-grown tomatoes, which are oftentimes of lesser quality compared with those from local growers.
- Local tomato suppliers usually provide tomatoes that are of superior quality since the vegetables are grown organically and there are fewer pesticides and chemicals. They are normally picked ripe from the vines, indicating that the produce has developed its full ripeness. This then accounts for their exceptional taste and appearance.
- Some local farmers’ markets may sell tomatoes at higher prices compared with those in supermarkets and groceries, but their quality is far superior. These tomatoes are also healthier, so the extra cost is worth it.
- When buying tomatoes, choose those that are heavy for their size. Avoid those with leaking juice and have soft spots.
- Avoid refrigerating the tomatoes as it will cause the vegetables to break down faster, which will negatively affect their texture and flavor.
Questions to ask:
- Do you offer discounts if I pick up the tomatoes at your farm?
- How will I know if my orders have been shipped?
- How much does shipping cost?
- Are there other fees I need to pay for if I have my order shipped to certain US states?
- Once you ship my order, when can I expect it to arrive?
- What type of delivery service do you use?
- What type of payments do you accept?
How can I save money?
- Buy in volume, particularly if you plan on preserving the tomatoes. Local farmer stands often provide substantial discounts to buyers who buy in bulk.
- If buying online, find a supplier that offers free shipping to avoid having to pay for avoidable shipping costs.
- Sign up for memberships at organizations that have Community Supported Agriculture programs. They usually yield healthier produce that is sold and delivered at a reasonable cost.
- Grow your own tomatoes, especially if your household has large tomato consumption. These plants are among the easiest to grow and require no complicated techniques to cultivate. Depending on the quantity planted, the production is often enough to have a sufficient number of tomatoes stored and then some preserved through canning.
Advertising Disclosure: This content may include referral links. Please read our disclosure policy for more info.