Eat Local Spotlight: Tomatoes



When you eat local tomatoes, you’re enjoying the fruit of three months of a Hawaii farmer’s loving care. “There’s a lot of time invested in each crop before it’s delivered,” says Shin Ho of Oahu-based Ho Farms. Tomatoes are the best-selling crop on her family’s farm and take up the most acreage.

Handpicked at peak ripeness and quickly brought to market, Ho Farms Family Tomatoes are packed by hand and showcase a beautiful rainbow of colors and varieties— cherry, baby Roma, golden grape, currant and Kahuku golden, Shin talked Hawaii-grown tomatoes with us so we could share some of her secrets with you.

• Local Mo Bettah!
Shin explains that local tomatoes are fresher and more nutritious: “It’s four days from our farm to grocery store shelves. The tomatoes that come from the Mainland are at least another week older.”

• Color Matters
How to select a great tomato according to Shin: “Deep color, whether it’s red, orange, or purple. Deep color is all about flavor and means the tomato is going to be more ripe. There should be no blemishes on the skin. And make sure it looks firm.”

• Personal Fave
Shin shares, “I am a cherry girl! Cherry tomatoes are my favorite because I like that they’re sweet and tart and juicy, and have the true tomato flavor.”

• How You Eat Them
“Just fresh! I also like cherry tomatoes in green papaya salad. We start with two to three chili peppers and pound them up with a piece of garlic. We put in lime juice, sugar and fish sauce. My mom will put long beans in, too. Then shredded papaya, cherry tomatoes and mix it all up. My mom tops it with peanuts.”

Check out our Toy Box Tomato Salad recipe below for another great way to eat local Ho Farms tomatoes!

Shin picking tomatoes

Did You Know?
colorful tomatoes

Your fridge can be a friend or foe to a tomato. “Temperatures below 55 F can freeze the inside of a tomato and totally kill its flavor,” says Shin Ho. But with Hawaii’s heat and humidity, more than a day or two on your kitchen counter could lead to tomato mush. So if you’re not eating your tomatoes right away, keep them fresh by popping them in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator where it’s a little less cold than the rest of the fridge.


toy box tomato salad

Toy Box Tomato Salad with Basil and Creamy Soy-Garlic Dressing

A fun way to enjoy bite-sized, tiny tomatoes!
  • 12 oz. Ho Farms Family Tomatoes (assorted variety of tomatoes)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 5 leaves fresh basil, torn
Halve tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with torn basil leaves. Drizzle with Creamy Soy-Garlic Dressing (recipe follows).

Creamy Soy-Garlic Dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tsp. shoyu
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 Tbs. mirin
  • 1/2 tsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. water
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper

Combine all ingredients together and whisk until smooth.

Did you make this recipe?
Let us know how it turned out for you! Share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #FoodlandEatLocal

orange sign

How can you tell it’s local?
Look for the ORANGE SIGNS
to find locally grown and locally made items throughout our stores.