As a rule, winter tomatoes sold in Kansas this time of year don’t measure up to their sun-drenched summer counterparts. That’s because winter tomatoes typically travel long distances, so they are picked green then gassed to turn a deep uniform red. While that process pleases the eye, it results in a tasteless tomato.
Summertime flavor from a red and ripe tomato is available in Great Bend, where Rosewood Services is now harvesting tomatoes from more than 160 plants at its north Washington greenhouse. It offers two varieties, Celebrity and Beefsteak, and sells its tomatoes for $1.50 per pound.
The public can purchase the tomatoes in downtown Great Bend at the Rosewood Furniture Gallery, or at Rosewood’s north Washington location. When the new Wine Cellar opens in mid-January, tomatoes will be sold at that downtown location, too.
Growing tomatoes is a daily process for a dozen clients of Rosewood Services. They plant and care for seedlings, then move the plants to the greenhouse where they regularly apply all-natural products, water, groom and harvest the tomatoes. Once the tomatoes are harvested, the clients help move the produce to market, selling to area restaurants and delivering to designated drop-off locations for public selling.
“Growing tomatoes is really a labor of love for our workers,” said Rosewood’s Jenna Curran, who supervises much of the daily greenhouse process. “For most of our regulars, this is their favorite place to work because it’s so peaceful and nurturing. They take ownership in the success of growing and harvesting tomatoes.”