Rio Grande Tomato:
I always harbored the dream of growing tomatoes and becoming a millionaire from doing it.
And for a long time, I shoved this dream aside.
Then one day, I decided to give it a try.
Like everyone, who has a dream, I had to do some research.
Using my smart phone, I jumped into my FIRST research station—Google.
I read many articles about tomatoes:
- About their yield per acre
- The diseases affecting it,
- Market potential,
- The Top Varieties,
- And how people who dropped out of school, or who were fired from their jobs, became instant millionaires just by growing tomatoes.
All this information was relayed with absolute eloquence, in blogs, YouTube Videos, Facebook posts, and in Tweets.
And I fell for it.
For it vindicated my dream…
This is the same process that anyone who decides to start a new venture including you and I, go through.
We first start by researching, analyzing, before plunging head on into the venture.
Therefore, After Much Research and Agonizing, I Resolved to Grow RIO Grande Tomatoes.
If I Knew What Lay Ahead, I Would Not Have Grown the Rio Grande Tomato Variety:
By my statement above, I know you are anxious.
You can’t wait to know what happened.
Sit back and relax.
I’ll tell you about it in a moment.
However, I do not want you to misunderstand me.
My mistake therefore, was growing Rio Grande, while my target market wanted something else.
The tomato variety did not have any problem.
It was I, who had a problem.
I didn’t understand my customer’s needs.
Unfortunately, this is a mistake that MOST newbie farmers fall into.
They grow the wrong variety for their market…
Consequently, they end up selling their produce for a song!
Don’t be tempted to fall into the same mistake like I did.
How I Ended Up Growing the Rio Grande Tomato Variety
First, I looked at the cost of Rio Grande Seeds.
They were way much CHEAPER than other varieties.
Yet, the yield per acre of all the other expensive varieties was equal to that of Rio Grande.
I didn’t ask myself why it was so…
Instead, I reasoned, “Why should I buy expensive seeds yet I will harvest the same tonnage from the cheaper seed?”
Little did I know, tomato seed is not equal.
By this statement, you may be tempted to dismiss Rio Grande, and choose to grow the other expensive varieties.
Don’t do it my friend.
You could end up in a HOLE like me.
Only this time you could grow a variety that your marker finds expensive…
So my advice to you is to read to the very end of this, so as to come up with the right conclusion.
How to Know If Your Target Market Wants Rio Grande Tomatoes—or any other variety…
This is the most important aspect of the tomato growing business.
Without understanding it, you are doomed for failure even before you start.
Don’t be like me.
If I had followed this process, I would not have failed.
Instead, I would have succeeded.
So How do you Know Which Variety to Grow?
- Examine your own Tomato Buying Habits.
When you go to the supermarket, what type of tomatoes do you love to buy?
Do you like round tomatoes, oval tomatoes, Large tomatoes, medium sized tomatoes, small tomatoes?
Are you the type of person who loves the cheapest tomatoes on sale?
- Observe what others like to buy
To do this, visit the market.
Go to the section that sells tomatoes.
From a distance, examine what other buyers do when they want to buy tomatoes.
Look at the shape, size, of the tomatoes they buy.
- Ask tomato brokers, and the people in the tomato value chain the what customers like.
As you ask the tomato sellers about the variety that people love, ask them for their advice.
Ask them to tell you the variety they would grow if they were tomato farmers.
“Why should I go to all this trouble?” You may ask.
Well, have you ever heard of the old adage, “Birds of the same feathers stick together?”
By examining your own tomato buying habits, and those of others, you are now able to identify a variety that people of your type love.
- Once you’ve gone through step 1 to 3, select a variety that people of your class like to buy.
Grow this variety, and you’ll have found the right variety for the niche you represent.
Following these steps, you’ll know what the market wants.
By saying this, I am speaking out of experience.
Why Rio Grande Tomato Variety Never Worked for Me
Before I go on explaining why it never worked, please remember the tomato variety is an excellent variety.
Some farmers absolutely love it because works for them.
However, to me it never worked well.
My target market wanted a different variety, which had different qualities that Rio-Grande Variety lacked.
So Which Are Those Qualities That Rio Grande Had that Never Worked for Me?
Before we get to this, let us understand how the tomato plants behave as they start yielding fruit.
If you are a keen observer, you will discover, the fruits that grow near the base of the tomato plants are usually bigger than those that grow further way.
This is a big deal in Kenya.
We grade tomatoes mostly according to size.
The big tomatoes qualify for grade 1, medium sized tomatoes go for grade 2, and small tomatoes go for grade 3.
Why this Type of Grading Matters for Rio Grande Tomato
- The variety produces medium size tomatoes.
What this means, is the variety produces grade 2, and 3 tomatoes onwards.
This is a big problem if your target market likes grade 1 tomato.
- Because the variety produces medium size tomatoes, you will need more tomatoes to fill a crate of tomato.
This works against you.
But it favors the buyer who prices his tomatoes according to the number of tomatoes a customer needs.
- Rio Grande Tomatoes are more perishable compared to other tomato varieties, in its class.
For this reason, tomato traders often give it a wide berth.
They want a variety that will remain fresh for at least 21 days from the date of harvest.
Top Qualities of Rio Grande Tomato That Other People Find Appealing
- It has a higher brix content than all the other varieties in its class.
For this reason, people who make tomato sauce, tomato paste absolutely love it.
Those who are in the business of dehydrating tomatoes praise this variety for its unique sweet taste.
- The variety produces medium sized tomatoes. Though this is a handicap to some people, other people love it.
Groceries that serve price sensitive customers demand this variety, as they sell tomatoes according to the numbers that a customer needs.
- The seed for this variety is super cheap.
With only $10 you can buy seed that can cover an acre.
That’s not the case with other varieties, where you’ll spend up to $300 to buy seed for one acre.
This cheap seed cost is an absolute advantage to beginner tomato farmers whose target market is the price sensitive customer.
- This variety is resistant to fusarium and Verticilium wilt.
- It takes 120 days from sowing seeds to harvest
Which is far less time compared to growing maize, onions, capsicum, and cabbages.
- While other varieties require staking to produce at their optimum, this variety doesn’t need staking.
This is a big advantage because you’ll save lots of cash because staking is expensive.
Wrapping it up
Rio Grande is a variety worth growing in the open field as long as your target market like it.
You’ll find growing it is about $300 dollars cheaper than growing other varieties.
What is your Experience with Rio Grande Tomatoes?
Share them below