Local farmers harvest field-grown tomatoes

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GRAINGER COUNTY (WVLT) -- Federal health inspectors have not yet discovered the source of the latest outbreak of salmonella, which is probably why on Friday afternoon they announced that they are questioning if the bacterial sickness is related to tomatoes.

About a month and a half into the outbreak, doctors have confirmed 812 cases of the bacterial sickness, including a few in Tennessee.

On Saturday, the bad rap tomatoes have acquired over that time couldn’t put a damper on the farmers of Grainger County. Early in the morning, workers began picking the year’s first field grown harvest.

For years, folks have debated what it is that makes Grainger tomatoes so highly good, but they do agree that there is a key to spotting one that's home grown and delicious.

"It will have ridges around the shoulders, a big calyx where the stem was and it will have a little bit of cracking in it at times," said Farmer Jack Ritter, who also believes the tomato, will be supple if it is among the best.

Dozens flocked to Ritter’s to buy tomatoes from the first harvest by the pound. By early Saturday afternoon, he had already sold out of what was picked that morning, but there will be more. This year’s crop has already proven to be great.

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