York County Green Tomatoes Shipped to Florida

A friend and I were discussing my recent York Sunday News column on York County canning houses. I remember my father growing tomatoes in Chanceford Township for the canneries when I a small child. My friend’s father had a much larger farming operation and continued farming longer than my family.
She then proceeded to tell me about the green tomato trade in the 1950s:


They would pick perfect green tomatoes when they were about the size of a tennis ball or a little smaller. The tomatoes had to be uniform. Early in the morning she and her sister would take a truckload of tomatoes to a broker a few miles up route 74 from their farm. They started early to wait in line because every tomato would be inspected to make sure they were the same size and had no blemishes.
These York County green tomatoes would then be shipped to Florida to slowly ripen in special facilities. Eventually the tomatoes would be sent to supermarkets all over the country, probably including York County, so that customers could have “ripe” tomatoes all year.
I had never heard the story before, but it makes sense. It also explains why out-of-season tomatoes have never had much taste.
Anyone know of similar story?
Click here for more on York County canning houses.

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