Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Guernsey Tomatoes

The Summer sun heralds the return of the Guernsey tomato to our local shops and the hedge vege. The ones in the stores are packaged in recycled cardboard containers which always make a good addition to the compost bin; our compost is a bit on the wet and sloppy side so the dry cardboard is always needed and welcome.

Mr Bee hated raw tomato with a passion before we moved to Guernsey, but then he tried some cherry tomatoes warmed by the sun on the hedge vege in the first few weeks following our arrival in Guernsey.

He is truly converted; to my genuine amazement he actually speaks fondly about the hedge vege tomatoes, sliced in half, drizzled with balsamic vinegar, cracked black pepper and salt.

When the Guernsey tomatoes are in season we eat two or three punnets per day. They are so cheap and delicious. I quite often have one for my lunch. Not that long ago the tomato industry was Guernsey's main income but it went into rapid decline due to the rising cost of transporting the tomatoes off Island and from fierce competition from Holland. My Dad remembers as a child always looking forward to Channel Island potatoes and tomatoes.

Although the export of tomatoes has all but disappeared I am grateful growers still supply the local market. I don't think it is that the tomatoes sold in Guernsey are better than elsewhere, it is just that they don't have to travel far to their point of sale.

Often the tomatoes are picked when they are perfectly ripe and then the grower only need to walk a few metres to the hedge vege stall outside their house to sell them. They are mostly ripened on the plants, not picked green and left to 'ripen' later (though they never do, not properly), nor do they need to sell varieties which have toughen skins for good transportation.

So I'm glad to share with you the Guernsey tomato. Don't they look tasty, you can't smell them, you can't taste them and you can't have any; unless you pay Guernsey a visit that is ;)


  1. Our summer tomatoes are amazing as well -- our own as well as those from the Farmer's market. Summer is tomato eating time -- and we eat them sometimes three times a day.

  2. Those tomatoes are a thing of beauty. Thank goodness you are still able to get enjoy them locally. The tomatoes in our neck of the woods are just beginning to blush red...

    We once had a thriving potato community on Long Island which went by the wayside because of the high cost of production. In the past 20 years or so the farms have gradually been "reinvented" into vineyards and as of recently potatoes are making a come back in the form of Vodka!!!

    Thanks for sharing, Gillian. I'm adding your blog to my blogroll so I stop by more often:)

    P.S. T.W. over @ Culinary Types did a wonderful post about the "new" Vodka industry on Long Island. I have a feeling you will really enjoy his blog too:)

  3. My dad had a relative who had a Tomato farm in Guernsey. When we holidayed in Guernsey, I totally fell in love with hedge veg and we couldnt drive anywhere without several stops along the way.xxx

  4. These look good so it is no wonder that you eat so many of them. When I was expecting my second child (many years ago) all I ate was fresh tomatoe sandwiches on white bread with mayonaise and salt. I think local and home grown are the best since I agree the longer you keep them on the vine the sweeter and juicier they tend to be. Enjoy your summer tomatoes.

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