I remember the first time I bought some Isle of Wight tomatoes at my local farmers market in Islington. I had noticed them before at Borough Market, but hadn’t actually tried anything.”What’s so special about these tomatoes I keep seeing?” “Try one”, came the simple reply from the stall holder. I haven’t looked back.
These tomatoes are seriously good. They are sweet and succulent, and have the power to transform even the blandest salad into something tasty and refreshing. The Tomato Stall has been around since 2007 and has grown hugely over this time, now stocking in several stores and restaurants in London and the UK, including the iconic Fortnum & Mason. Yet despite this, The Tomato Stall has not lost it’s small-scale charm, remaining a familiar sight at markets in London and beyond.
The dedicated team on the Isle of Wight grow over 40 varieties every year, but not before trialling 200 in a quest for taste perfection. That’s a lot of tomatoes! They are at the top of the tomato game and luckily for us, they decided to launch a range of tomato inspired products too, including Oak Roasted Tomato Infused Balsamic, Organic Isle of Wight Tomato Ketchup and the incredible Isle of Wight Tomatoes Oak Roasted with Sunflower Oil, the mere thought of which has me reaching to the cupboard. The entire range is completely free from additives and preservatives; indeed why alter something so naturally perfect?
For quality, sustainability and sheer flavour, we expect to pay a little more, and yes IOW tomatoes are a little more expensive than the average tomato. In these times of frugality, many people hesitate at paying more for a product they could buy more cheaply, dare I say, in the supermarket. Curious to embark on a little experiment one Sunday at the farmers market, I decided to forego my beloved IOW tomato haul and buy some from a neighbouring stall. Were they cheaper? Yes. Superior? No! Nor was I eating them with the same abandon throughout the week. Not only do the IOW tomatoes perk up many a work day lunch, they make regular starring appearances at dinner time, whether charred and perched atop grilled chicken or made into a delicious sauce to lather through some spaghetti. Their quality and taste is incomparable and absolutely worth the extra spend. I haven’t bought my tomatoes anywhere else since!
Although their main season runs from March-November, a small amount are available all year round online, from their market stalls and selected stockists. Have a look at their website to find out where you can buy your IOW tomatoes, and be sure to check out their excellent recipes, including “The Ultimate Bloody Mary”!