When is local not local?

I haven’t bought tomatoes during the winter months for awhile now – they don’t really fit with the goal of local, seasonal eating, and they tend not to taste as good as the ones you get in the summer. But I have to admit that I’ve been tempted on occasion to buy a package of “BC Hot House” tomatoes to satisfy that mid-winter craving. There are a lot of vegetables grown in greenhouses here in British Columbia (namely cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes) – they keep us in fresh veggies when it’s too cold to grow them outside. I was thinking recently that there wouldn’t be much harm in eating these tomatoes in the winter, because they were at least coming from a local grower, in season or not. So imagine my surprise when I came across an article the other day pointing out that BC Hot House actually imports their tomatoes from Mexico in the winter rather than growing them in their local green houses. The reason for this is apparently that the conditions aren’t good enough in Canada to grow tomatoes in the winter. Really? What a shocker. I find it interesting that they’re still calling them “BC” tomatoes, though. More than a little misleading, I would say.

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7 thoughts on “When is local not local?”

  • Yes,here are also much fruits and vegetables important in winter.We have tomatos and other vegetables from Spain and Netherlands and sometimes from South Africa(!).I find that not so good and I think why can tomatos not grow in Germany also in winter in big vegetable greenhouses?As local they see maybe europe….ThatΒ΄s crazy.
    And I see the same problems like in Canada!


  • I haven’t eaten tomatoes in the winter except for the rare occasion for the past few years. I simply find winter tomatoes unpalatable. But thanks for bringing this to my attention. Branding is often misleading. It reminds me of McDonald’s “All Beef Patties” which is also a brand and is not even close to all beef (another place where I never set foot). We just can’t be too vigilent. And, it seems, it pays to read the fine print. Egad!!!

  • WOW! We get BC hothouse tomatoes here and even though they’re not terribly local, I would buy them in a pinch when I HAD to have one for a certain recipe.(usually I avoid tomatoes in the winter). I’d buy the hothouse kind because like you I figured they were at least local.

    I’d say that is false advertising. So if I bought one, it’s been imported to Canada from Mexico then Imported to the US from Canada! What a paper trail…

  • Well,
    disregarding that the bc tomatoes aren’t local–We broke down once and bought the “hot house” tomatoes. They tasted as plain as the others ever do! The little grape tomatoes are the tomatoes I have the most trouble resisting. Sometimes you just feel like a tomato by golly. But 99.5%—I don’t. I wait until summer. Besides-it’s always worth waiting for πŸ™‚ I do like those grape tomatoes though—and try and grow at least one plant for myself every year no matter where we live.

  • Great. Thanks for bursting my tomato bubble πŸ™‚ I’ll never be able to look at them the same again. And here I thought my BC tomatoes were from just across the border.

  • I too was under the impression that BC Hot House tomatoes were grown here locally. I feel completed ripped off as all along I felt I was eating locally grown food. I think BC Hot House should be made to change their sticker with “grown in Mexico” larger than their company logo. Needless to say, I won’t be buying their tomatoes anymore and will save my “local” purchases to foods in season. Fortunately, I live in Richmond so have quite a few local farms to buy from come summer and fall. I feel so strongly that this is faulty advertising on the part of BC Hot House that I will avoid purchasing any of their products from now on.

  • This has nothing to do with Free Range Living but is akin to “BC Hot House” and “All Beef Patties”.
    In New Zealand I was looking for souviners that were actually from New Zealand and discovered that “Made in New Zealand” is a limited company that has souviners made in China.

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