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After Slow Start, NJ Tomato Production Expected To Be Back On Track

By Cleve Bryan

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, NJ (CBS) – Warm temperatures are expected to help New Jersey’s famous tomatoes get back on track after a slow start.

Agricultural agent Wesley Kline, with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Cumberland County, says too much rain in the spring and early summer is to blame for delaying outdoor tomato harvest by a week or two.

“It has affected pollination, which means you end up with smaller fruit and less fruit, “says Kline. “So that’s why the earlier yields will probably be lower than what would be normal.”

Kline says both the flavor and appearance of the early tomatoes are off.

At Bergamo’s Garden Market in Vineland, tomato lover Bernadette Cervino was disappointed by the sign above the round tomatoes indicating they were grown in greenhouses.

She says the selection hasn’t been great as she expected anywhere she’s looked.

“There’s nothing in the world like New Jersey tomatoes,” says Cervino. “It’s the flavor, they’re so sweet- you could eat them like an apple, they’re so good.”

The Bergamo family grows numerous fresh vegetables, and tomatoes only make up a small portion of their total production.

Ed Bergamo showed CBS 3 where rain damage destroyed a portion of their tomato field.

“I mean, you want to have Jersey Tomatoes by the 4th of July. These are slightly behind because of the weather. It was a cool, damp spring and this humidity isn’t that great,” says Bergamo.

If the warm weather expected to last all week isn’t accompanied by too much humidity, Bergamo and Kline both say it would do wonders for getting the tomatoes back on track.

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