Bad Tomatoes, Good For Local Growers

WHITTON (KAIT) - If you want tomatoes you may have to turn to your local producer.

Keith Forrester Producer "I think it's gonna be a benefit for us, if theres not any tomatoes on the shelf it will definitely increase traffic at the farmers markets and that will benefit everyone that works there at the market."

Keith Forrester and his wife Jill gave up teaching careers to go into produce and flower farming full time.

Together they own and operate the Whitton flower and Produce farm near Whitton. Besides selling off the farm they go to many farmers market in the area.

Forreter, "Also this evening be going down to Tyronza they've got a little market down there. Happy, proud to go down there, we go to Memphis twice a week , that's probably our number one market."

the Forresters also sell at the ASU farmers market in fact Jill sits on the board.

As far as tomatoes go they only have a quarter of an acre but each plant is special.

Forrester, "I do all the planting though. Okay, I planted all these tomatoes by hand. I planted everyone of them by hand. I just planted another row yesterday."

All the tomatoes on the plants are small and green but in a few weeks they are going to be red and delicious, ready to go to local farmers markets.

The farm has been in the Forrester family for a long time and one of the tomates they grow is an old family favorite.

Forrester, "We grow a variety my grandmother used to grow here on our farm. Arkansas traveler which is a common tomato around here. You can find em in places just a real old timey tomato. "

They grow about 7 different types of tomatoes as well as other vegetables and flowers. All for sale in the farmers markets, which like farming is a passion with Jill Forrester she sums up the tomato scare quite simply "know your farmer, know your food."

Jill Forrester, "The farmers market, especially the ASU Regional Farmers Market is a great place to go on Saturday mornings and actually meet your farmer and learn more about that individual farmers farming practices, and actually see where your food is coming from."

Jill hopes that the tomato shortage will bring a windfall to her and other local farmers.

"It's actually be something that increases an awareness about actually growing for yourself or buying local. If you buy something local the money stays here in your local economy so it does nothing but support and sustains local communities."

The Forresters tomatoes won't be ready for about three weeks but you can visit your local farmers market for other kinds of tasty produce.