Fresh Eats Blog: Tomatoes

Here at the Coquitlam Farmers Market we are all about local, seasonal and sustainably grown produce. What better way to celebrate the summer months than a fresh take on some familiar foods! This week’s topic: tomatoes.

Did you know cooked tomatoes are actually better for you than raw ones because beneficial chemicals are released?

Did You Know?

Did you know because tomatoes have seeds and grow from a flowering plant, it is classed as a fruit not a vegetable? There are more than 7,500 tomato varieties grown around the world, including Beefsteak, Oxheart and Plum tomatoes.

Tomatoes are in season in South West British Columbia from July all the way until November! Did you know they are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that is good for the heart and effective against certain cancers? Tomatoes are also packed with vitamins A and C, calcium, potassium and make a refreshing snack on a hot day!

Recipe of the Week

Fresh Tomato Salsa

Courtesy of blue bayou & allrecipes Canada


3 tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup finely diced onion

5 chiles, finely chopped

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons lime juice


Step 1- Chop ingredients

Step 2- Combine ingredients in a medium bowl, stir together tomatoes, onion, chili peppers, cilantro, salt, and lime juice

Step 3- Chill for one hour in the refrigerator before serving

Put on fish, toasted bread, and more!

Ingredients at the Market

Tomatoes: Shen’s Farm, Never Say Die, and Red Barn and Plants will have heirlooms in August!

Cilantro: Floralia Growers, Red Barn Plants and Produce, Wah Fung Farm

Onions: Red Barn, Wah Fung Farm

Other Greens: Amazia Farm, Beckmann Farm, Floralia Growers, Forstbauer Farms, Harvest Direct, Hill Top Farm, Langley Organic Growers, Mandair Farms, Never Say Die Farm, Ripple Creek Organic Farm, Shen’s Farm, Snowy Mountain Organics, Wah Fung Farm

Steps on How To Grow Tomatoes

Tomato Planting 101:

Step 1- Go to a garden center and purchase seeds in March. We know of a great local seed company, West Coast Seeds! Also grab some potting or seed starting soil and any apparatus to start the seeds. This could range from small pots, seedling trays, or even egg carton bottoms!

Step 2- Fill your growing vessels most of the way full of soil. Place your seeds on top (go for two seeds per vessel, it helps with germination in the case one doesn’t sprout) of the soil. Then sprinkle lightly soil on top, water lightly for all to settle.

Step 3- Put in a sunny window or under a heat mat and a grow light. Once the seed sprouts, water lightly each day and you should get a four leaf structure within three weeks.

Step 4- Pot up your little four leaf tomatoes in a next larger pot. Water and add fish fertilizer according to directions on the bottle.

Step 5- Once to a temperature outside of ten degrees Celsius at night, plant outside in the ground or in a final pot.  Fertilize it again as before and grab your staking equipment found at any garden centre. The easiest option: a tomato cage! Your plant will grow either high or bushy!  Make sure to cover your tomatoes with a plastic cover when it rains to avoid early season blight.

Step 6- Ensure you are watering each day. Tomatoes require six to eight hours of sunlight per day to grow and ripen.

Note: Having issues with your tomato plants? Register for our next gardening workshop on August 20th. It may describe to be a winter gardening workshop, but you can bring all your questions!

Tomatoes in B.C.

Tomatoes are one of B.C.’s many field and greenhouse vegetables that rely on state-of-the-art facilities and production practices. Did you know the skin colour of a ripe tomato is usually the only way to tell what type they are? The Coquitlam Farmers Market has a variety to choose from all summer!

Greenhouses only take up 0.01% of B.C.’s farmland, but produce 11% of the province’s total agriculture production! The breeze coming from the Pacific Ocean and daylight hours make the southern portion of the province one of the best regions to produce vegetables via greenhouses.