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History of Tomato Mountain Farm

Tomato Mountain Farm started in 1993. I couldn’t find a job that satisfied my need to be a part of something I believed in. I wanted to create something authentic, necessary, and important, and needed to work in a place that honored my sensibility about what I did, where I worked, and who I worked with. All I knew was that I loved plants, the natural world and the inter-connectedness of it all.

I got a lucky break to work an acre of land offered to me by my mentor teacher when I student taught at the University of Wisconsin. I raised a variety vegetables from the start. Growing up in an Italian family where food and cooking was a main event, I focused on tomatoes, from the smallest cherries to the biggest heirlooms. I spent my days in the field loving the weather, soil and plants, and my nights in the cabin next to the field slow cooking tomatoes down into sauces of every imaginable type. 

Of course I needed to find places to sell my produce. I went to farmers markets and developed relationships with as many restaurants as possible. In my search to find customers dedicated to local, high quality produce, I developed a relationship with Frontera Grill in Chicago. Working with them was a dream. Besides being a very large and successful restaurant, they treated me with respect and dignity. While most of my wholesale customers were trying to talk me down in price, Frontera encouraged me to set my prices high. They understood what few people know, that farmers don’t make money. That is how I entered the Chicago market.

Since then, I have found my own land to farm, built an on-farm processing kitchen, and started a home delivery CSA/subscription service that serves Chicagoland. Earning a living farming continues to be a monumental challenge. As with any business, the most important things are developing and maintaining relationships and continually being creative and innovative.

Photo(s) added: , Another New PhotoNovember 6th, 2018

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Photo(s) added: September 17th, 2018

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Photo(s) added: September 10th, 2018

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