Rooted in fair trade we’re a Massachusetts based food hub.
Food Hub: a bridge between producers and consumers that distributes local, source-identified food.
We strive to bring transparency, fairness, and sustainability to every aspect of the way we do business.
Our Mission and Values
We believe that food has the ability to connect and empower communities. We believe sustainability is the best way to create a solid future for our region’s farmers.
We define sustainability as:
Stewardship of the earth
Fair, safe treatment of farmers and workers
Wide access to affordable, healthy, food
Financial well being of our farms and Red Tomato
Red Tomato was founded in 1996. Michael Rozyne, a co-founder of Equal Exchange, took a sabbatical from the fair trade coffee world to explore what it might look like to apply the same concepts on farms in the northeastern U.S.
Local food had yet to grab the attention of consumers, retailers, food writers or policy makers. What was clear was that small- and medium-sized farmers were losing their ability to compete in an increasingly consolidated, global marketplace.
At the same time, produce you find in the grocery store had lost it’s
seasonality (‘ripe’ tomatoes in the winter?!)
and nutritional value (thanks standardization and long-distance transport!)
Red Tomato was born out of the search for a way to connect farmers with consumers through good produce.
How We Got Our Name:
Over the Years
From worker safety to agroecological farm management our team continues to innovate side by side with local farmers. What sets us apart is our place in the market. We could become consultants, but selling produce keeps us grounded in the needs of farmers and realities of the market.
The Warehouse Years (1997 – 2003)
At first, Red Tomato worked on behalf of farmers to market, sell and develop new products. In addition, we ran a small warehouse and distribution operation. In the early 2000’s it became clear that a conventional distribution model at our small scale could not compete.
In a risky and carefully considered shift, we closed our warehouse, canceled our truck lease and began to concentrate on managing logistics. With a renewed focus on marketing, branding, and packaging, we launched Plan A.
“Plan A” – The Distribution Center Model (2003 – Present)
After closing our warehouse we sought to deliver local produce in the most cost-effective manner possible. Working with several customers, including Whole Foods, we began to deliver entire truckloads full of apples, peaches, and tomatoes to their centralized warehouse.
We are price competitive, can pay our growers well and offer a decent price for their hard work. We continue to work with Whole Foods, Roche Brothers, and others in this fashion to this day.
“Plan B” – Direct Store Delivery (2014 – Present)
While Plan A is highly efficient, it doesn’t allow us to interact with the store purchasing team or the final consumer. Also, it limits the amount of produce we can sell!
In 2014 we began working with Kings Markets in New Jersey, Hannaford Markets in Massachusetts, and many others to offer over 200 different fruit and vegetable items.
Without trucks or a warehouse, we rely on amazing distribution partners to make our deliveries for us. Our Direct Store Delivery (DSD) program allows us to deliver 10 cases of different produce 3 times a week, June through November. Through DSD we serve grocery stores, colleges and institutions, and even other distributors.
Curious to learn more?
Join us for 13 minutes of a audio storytelling during a warm July day in our DSD season.