Nov 27, 2017
Nonprofit honored for 20 years marketing produce

More than 100 farmers, scientists, philanthropists, staff and leaders gathered Nov. 4 to celebrate 20 years of nonprofit Red Tomato marketing local produce from midsize farms in the Northeast.

In two decades of time, the nonprofit marketed more than 1.75 million cases, or about 60 million pounds, of fresh, locally-grown produce that generated more than $44 million in total sales, according to a release from Red Tomato.

“For 20 years, Red Tomato has helped connect farmers and their fresh, healthy produce to residents across the commonwealth, which is essential to our efforts to keep agriculture in Massachusetts viable and successful,” said Massachusetts Commissioner of Agriculture John Lebeaux, who attended the Nov. 4 event at the Charles River Museum of Industry and innovation in Waltham, Mass.

Founded in 1997 by Equal Exchange Co-Founder Michael Rozyne, Red Tomato serves as a translator between the growers and the retail/consumer environment. In coordinating the marketing and logistics for farms, Red Tomato continues to develop nationally-recognized systems that allow seasonal local produce to be delivered to grocery stores and institutions year-round.

Laura Edwards-Orr was named the organization’s executive director in 2015.

“There are so many uncertainties when we look to our future – from unpredictable weather patterns to the evolution of e-commerce and its impact on the traditional grocery store model,” Edwards-Orr said. “What we, at Red Tomato, know with complete certainty, is that our farmers grow some of the best produce our region has to offer. And people are hungry for it! It’s our job to be at the table.”

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