The idea of “doing right” by farmers is core to our organization and to our team. Our founder, Michael Rozyne, pioneered international fair trade as a co-founder of Equal Exchange, a fair trade coffee (and beyond) company, in 1986. Fully caffeinated, after 10 years in coffee Michael began to muse: “What would fair trade look like in the Northeast? How would fresh produce (a passion of this backyard farmer) differ from coffee?” And so, Red Tomato was launched.
The Dignity Deal: There’s no formula for fair pricing in produce. Market prices can spike or drop from the time it takes to pour your second cup of coffee (RT runs on EE dark roast!). Factor in competition and global supply and produce pricing feels a bit like the Wild West. So, we focus on a concept that’s come to be known as the dignity deal. It’s pretty simple. After some basic market research, we ask the farmer: “How much would you like to see this product sell for?” And then: “How low can we go without compromising your dignity?” That’s it. If the price goes too low, we walk away from the deal. If there’s more to gain without overpricing, we’ll shoot for that. The farmer is in the loop 100%. Our pricing is transparent. It’s not rocket science. It just feels right.