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Brown Tomato Gets Red Carpet Treatment

When the Washington, D.C. culinary community gathered in black tie for its 25th annual awards gala, a little brown tomato took center plate. In mid-June, the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) brought hundreds of the city’s chefs and restaurateurs together to bestow “RAMMY” awards upon the luminaries of their industry. Sharing the spotlight with winners in such categories as Top Chef, Best New Restaurant, Hottest Bar Scene, and “Power Spot” of the Year, was the Dulcinea® Rosso Bruno™ premium vine-ripened tomato, served to this discerning audience as part of the gala menu.

“It was a particular compliment for the Rosso Bruno tomato to be chosen as part of the main course for this event,” said Jennifer Poulson, business development representative for The Oppenheimer Group. “The tomato was well-received by an influential cross-section of the D.C. foodservice community. We couldn’t have found a better way to reach more potential Rosso Bruno customers in the area and show them how they might use the tomato on a menu.”

Poulson pointed out that consumers often discover new types of produce for the first time in restaurants and then look for them at the grocery store. “Restaurants are often the food trend leaders,” she said. “By increasing distribution to the foodservice sector, we can also drive demand for Rosso Bruno at retail.”

Oppenheimer markets Rosso Bruno tomatoes in partnership with Ducinea Farms of Ladera Ranch, Calif. Rosso Bruno is available year-round in 11-pound bulk cases, and is grown exclusively by Houweling Nurseries in Oxnard, Calif.

The inspiration to serve Rosso Bruno tomatoes to this audience of epicureans originated with Rob Mumma, senior vice president of business development for Belair Produce, a foodservice distributor based in Hanover, Md. A food community chair for the gala, Mumma taste-tested Rosso Bruno and thought its rich flavor and novelty offered the perfect appeal.

The tomatoes were slow roasted on low heat, filled with goat cheese, and served alongside a pistachio-encrusted rack of Australian lamb with barley risotto.

“The Rosso Bruno was a perfect accompaniment to the natural flavors of the lamb,” said Lynne Breaux, president of RAMW. “Raves on our delicious gala menu are pouring in from many of the culinary professionals in attendance.”

Since its debut just over one year ago, Rosso Bruno has enjoyed steadily increasing acceptance among consumers, who have learned about the unique brown tomato through retail point-of-sale materials, as well as from a full scale public relations campaign that has included coverage in influential magazines such as Good Housekeeping, Redbook and Health.

Publication date: 8/6/2007


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