Less skin, more flavour, juicier and longer shelf life
Tomatoes for hanging, the true flavour of Spanish cuisine
"Back when there were no refrigerators or large-scale farms, like those in Murcia or Almeria, our ancestors, after harvesting tomatoes in the field, sewed them on a rope and hung them in the attic, so that they had better ventilation and remained in good condition for longer. By doing this, they also had tomatoes in winter, taking them to the fields where they worked to scrub them on hard bread, which was baked just once a week," explains Esteban Tomás Pérez, manager of the Castellon-based company Más dels Fumeros.
Tomatoes for hanging are not the typical tomatoes that can be found in all supermarket chains. These tomatoes are cultivated following traditional methods, staked on canes in the open ground, as was done in the past. They are perfect for a traditional Catalan breakfast or lunch, "pa amb tomàquet", i.e. bread with scrubbed tomatoes, olive oil, salt, garlic and serrano ham. They are tomatoes with very little skin, a lot of juice and a long shelf life, since they can remain in perfect condition for more than three months without the need for a refrigerator. Moreover, they are also frequently used for the elaboration of the sauce base for paella and traditional stews.
"We are a third generation family business and we want to add value without losing our roots. That is why our focus is not on the appearance of the tomatoes, but on achieving the aroma, flavour and juiciness of traditional tomatoes. The varieties we use are local ones; they haven't gone through laboratories for hybridization or genetic selection processes. We always select the seeds ourselves in the field by checking what the best plants and tomatoes are," explains Esteban Tomás.
The company distributes its tomatoes mainly in Spain, especially in Castellon, Catalonia and Baleares, as well as in Andorra and in the south of France, where the cuisine has many similarities with that of Castellon and Catalonia.
"We have shipped tomatoes to countries like the United Kingdom and Switzerland, but it is difficult to supply these destinations with continuity, as well as to grow exponentially, because there is no consumption habit." However, in order to make Spanish cuisine more popular overseas and try to create new consumption habits, Mas dels Fumeros has developed the "Spanish Breakfast", presenting the tomato in wooden boxes accompanied by a bottle of extra virgin olive oil and organic salt flakes, all produced in Castellon. This is all accompanied by a diptych with images to teach how to make the famous "Pa amb tomàquet". "This way, consumers only need to have bread and serrano ham," says Esteban Tomás. The tomatoes are sold under the Rubby brand; a reference to the English verb "to rub", as well to the red gemstone.
The tomatoes for hanging of Más dels Fumeros are marketed under one of the leading brands in this category, also in terms of volume, since they own about 30 hectares in rotation during the twelve months of the year. They are mainly sold by traditional greengrocers, horeca traders and some small grocery chains.
Publication date: 8/21/2017
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