Garden centres eager to join in British Tomato Week promotions and tours

Consumers enjoyed a taste of summer during this year's British Tomato Week, which took place on 17-23 May.

The event saw Tomato Growers' Association (TGA) members across the country take part in various promotional activities, including tomato tasting stalls at supermarkets and glasshouse tours for school children.

The first events of the week took place at Asda stores in the Cardiff area, where shoppers were invited to try a range of tomatoes produced by Stubbins Marketing.

Stubbins grower manager Richard Lewis said: "Everyone is interested in where their food comes from and this was evident from the customers' questions. They are certainly looking for British tomatoes."

Further events through the week saw tastings take place at selected supermarkets across the country and, for three days, the Isle of Wight-based grower The Tomato Stall hosted a "demo kitchen" at London's Borough Market to showcase some of its recipes. They also provided Bloody Marys and Virgin Marys mixed by staff at Jamie Oliver's restaurant, Fifteen.

Growers hosted school visits to both Rhymney Valley Nursery in Cardiff and Arreton Valley Nursery on the Isle of Wight, while Cornerways Nursery in Norfolk hosted a tour for horticultural students at Norwich' Eastern College.

Media interest in British tomatoes kept both TGA spokesperson Gerry Hayman and chairman Nigel Bartle busy giving radio interviews and a feature on TV's Market Kitchen programme highlighted the range, quality and flavour of the product.

TGA representative Julie Woolley added: "This year we were approached by a record number of garden centres eager to join in the celebration of British tomatoes and while encouraging the sale of tomato plants they also promoted the TGA by distributing recipe leaflets to their customers and cooking our tomato recipes in their restaurants.

"It is our job to keep the superb British product at the forefront of consumers' minds and British Tomato Week provides us with the perfect platform. It certainly helps when the sun is shining".

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