British Tomato Fortnight runs from 29th May to 11th June – and what better way to celebrate than by talking to our very own British tomato growers and Welcome stores’ supplier, The Tomato Stall, otherwise known as Isle Of Wight Tomatoes.
Beginning life just over 15 years ago when team tomato headed off to their first farmers market, customers quickly realised that The Tomato Stall had some of the best produce around.
Of course, team tomato, based at Tomato Stall’s HQ in Arreton on the Isle of Wight, will not give away all their trade secrets. But, they say the island is the perfect place for tomato growing because the weather and climate allows for plenty of variety and most flavourful fruits.
In fact, the Isle of Wight is one of the sunniest places to live – and you need plenty of sunshine for the tastiest tomatoes. According to Met Office data, the Isle of Wight sees the most hours of sunshine each year, with 1,923 hours recorded in 2022. Plus, the Island gets an average of 37 hours of sunshine per week – far outstripping the rest of the UK’s 29-hour average.
But, apart from producing some of the best-tasting fruit, what is it that’s so great about the Tomato Stall? Well first, they are all about zero waste – and that’s a massive tick in the box for us!
Welcome Stores is fully committed to its sustainability pledge to reduce our carbon footprint wherever possible. We’re proud that two of our six stores now have zero waste stations, which means our customers can bring along their reusable containers and fill them up with everyday things like cleaners, soaps and even cereal and milk. Plus, all our stores recycle packaging and plastic, and use energy-saving features such as efficient LED lighting and doors.
Using local suppliers is also a key part of that sustainability pledge, as it reduces the need to transport goods far and wide – plus, there’s nothing quite like enjoying products from within a stone’s throw of our front door!
Similarly to Welcome Stores, The Tomato Stall is passionate about its commitment to the environment. All tomato plants are recycled to create rich compost that enriches the organic soil to grow even more yummy tomatoes. The tomato farm also uses rainwater harvesting features so that it stores rain to irrigate crops all year round.
If that wasn’t enough, the Isle of Wight itself is an accredited biosphere reserve – making it an even-more-perfect location for growing fruit. It allows for things like natural predators to balance ecosystems, and control pests without the use of chemicals that can be harmful to humans and the planet.
So if you’re a bit of a tomato fan, you might want to head down to your local Welcome store where you can find everything from the delicious fruit itself to pestos and passatas.
You can also find lots of inspiring tomato recipes on our website, or head to http://www.thetomatostall.co.uk/ to find out more about the Tomato Stall!