The day of the killed tomatoes

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My local Wendy’s has a sign up saying tomatoes are scarce and will be offered only by request, and this is in California. So, this article by Marlo Lewis about sandwich shops in DC illustrates a nationwide effect. – Anthony

Can Tomatoes Take Any More Global Warming? By Marlo Lewis

Today, my friendly neighborhood Potbelly Sandwich Shop posted dozens of small flyers along the ordering line, asking: “Where are the tomatoes?” The flyer explained:

The recent cold weather across North America has had a severe impact on the availability, quality and cost of tomatoes.

Due to these factors, we will temporarily cease to offer tomatoes on your sandwhich. As soon as the tomato crop returns to normal we will add them back to your sandwiches.

We apologize for this inconvenience. We do not want to compromise on the quality or value of our sandwiches.

More evidence – if any were needed – that winter endangers public health and welfare. Tomatoes are a great source of anti-oxidents and other health-enhancing nutrients. And they are delish!

Besides ruining tomatoes, winter is strongly correlated with cold and flu. Winter can also cause or contribute to power outages, travel disruptions and delays, traffic accidents, and injuries from slipping on ice.

You’d think that by now global warming would have made harsh winter weather a thing of the past. Alas, no. Our tomatoes, and the health and welfare benefits they bring, are still endangered.

But be of good cheer. The carbon dioxide emissions allegedly responsible for Al Gore’s “planetary emergency” are helping tomatoes beef up. The Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change maintains a database on field and laboratory experiments measuring plant growth response to CO2-enriched environments. Here’s the link for data on tomatoes.

A whopping 45 studies have examined the effects of CO2 enrichment on the garden tomato (lycopersicon eculentum). On average, garden tomatoes gain 32.

See the whole post here.

Joe D’Aleo writes:

Here is an approximate, preliminary look at the winter for the 90 days ending february 26, 2011. December/January was the coldest in Florida (winter vegetables) history and remember the frosts and freezes in California and south Texas.

http://icecap.us/images/uploads/90day_endingFeb26.JPG

I’ll have more on the tomatoes and cold story coming up, a story about Mexico – Anthony

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59 thoughts on “The day of the killed tomatoes

  1. It has been plenty cold here — can’t seem to warm up these past weeks.

    I sure wish there were some way we could warm up this planet . . .

  2. [me] Takes a look out of his window and sees the mighty glare of the glass city in the nightsky to the north-west of me, one of the largest concentration of greenhouses in the world also known as “Westland” [/me]

    Use googlemaps and zoom in on location 51.987555,4.191771

    And they thrive on Gas, and the CO2 provided by the petrochemical industry to south just on the other side of the “Waterweg” canal.

  3. Same in Vancouver Anthony. not only national, international. The only thing saving us is we have some of the worlds largest greenhouses, and tomatoes are one of their main crops.

  4. Don’t know about the rest of Calif, but we planted only colder weather tomatoes last year, and had plenty.
    The problem was not warming, but early falls and late springs.
    Not expecting any warming anytime soon, either.

  5. Yes, tomatoes do well at elevated CO2 levels as confirmed in this ABC Landline program.
    The link is http://www.abc.net.au/landline/content/2006/s2247329.htm. I quote,
    “KERRY STAIGHT: The glasshouse runs on recycled waste water, which is cleaned up using reverse osmosis. Rainwater is also collected from the roof and recycled. Evaporative cooling keeps the temperatures in the low 20s, even during a baking South Australian summer, while the natural gas boiler takes the chill off things in winter.

    The boiler produces another important ingredient: carbon dioxide, and plenty of it – more than seven million cubic metres a year. But the gas isn’t released. It’s captured and piped to the plants. And the glasshouse says that means the fruit is feasting on about four times more CO2 than what it would get if it was growing outside. “

  6. I just ate an In n Out burger, and it had two surprisingly nice tomato slices on it. I guess the Great Tomato Dearth of 2011 hasn’t hit Elk Grove yet. :)

  7. I guess we could get some help from Chile (pun intended). I hear they have tomatoes this time of year. I think you have to put them in a plane or on a ship though so never mind (carbon foot print issues ;-)

  8. Will this finally bring to an end this serious threat?

    Just goes to show there is a silver lining in every cloud.

  9. Tomatoes responding to ‘global warming.’ Tomatoes trump computer models on warming feedback.
    Another headline might read,’THE REVOLT OF TOMATOES TO THE GLOBAL WARMING SWINDLE.”

  10. My son lives in Hobart Tazmania and reports snow fell on Mt. Wellington today.Early in the season for snow up there also Tazmania has had a cool wet summer. I didn’t ask about the tomatoes.

  11. Back in the 80s I grew field tomatoes. In the 90s, they weren’t ripening until April (Southern Hemisphere), so I gave up and eventually, so did all the other field tomato growers in the valley. Nowadays, I grow tomatoes in a small greenhouse for our own use. Amish Paste. Yum :-)

    This year, the French beans cropped 3-4 weeks later than usual. If the warming is global, how come we never see any where I live? It’s sad really…

  12. Typo alert:
    “Tomatoes gain 32.”
    That would be %, as opposed to oz. or in. or leaves.
    And the table sez 32.6, which rounds to 33.

    ;)

  13. You say tom-ay-to and I say tom-ah-to. Let’s call the whole thing off.

    Oh wait… Ma Nature already took care of that.

    What’s next, po-tah-toes? No fries with that burger?

  14. In Norfolk British Sugar grow over 30 acres of tomatoes using heat from the sugar
    refining process, and piped C02 into glasshouses giving up to 40% increase in yield.
    A fine example of making the best use of the resources available.

  15. Very cold in Victoria Australia too. Only max of 17 degrees C today and expecting minimum of 3C over night. I say thank god for global warming otherwise it would be really cold!

  16. Sorry to dissapoint you guys but global warming causes colder AND warmer Northern Hemisphere winters. Don’t believe me? Believe the models!
    Warmer Northern Hemisphere winters [1999] NASA – Gavin Schmidt et. al.
    Colder Northern Hemisphere winters [2010] Potsdam Institute – Vladimir Petoukhov et. al.

    P.S. I am currently working on a long list of contradictory claims and pair them up for comparison. I hope to put it up in a month or two. It was inspired by Number Watch and I am currently looking at Warmists’ other claims made over the years. I hope will be a valuable rebuttal for unrepentant Warmists.

  17. Anthony,

    Last year we had some sort of mold going around decimating gardens due to the cool wet weather. Many people love gardening and just pulled all their plants out as this mold didn’t care what plants to attack.

  18. Tomatoes used to be seasonal, we are getting lazy and too used to the convenience of sources. Irrespective of warming or cooling we need to develop greater resilience in our food supplies.

  19. Jimbo says:
    March 1, 2011 at 3:27 am

    “P.S. I am currently working on a long list of contradictory claims and pair them up for comparison. I hope to put it up in a month or two. It was inspired by Number Watch and I am currently looking at Warmists’ other claims made over the years. I hope will be a valuable rebuttal for unrepentant Warmists.”

    Jimbo, I look forward to the report. Don’t forget the warmist scaremongering over the disappearance of winter snow due to global warming (as we, in New Hampshire, dig out of yet another snow/ice event…sigh…is it March yet?).

  20. gerard says:
    March 1, 2011 at 3:02 am

    Very cold in Victoria Australia too. Only max of 17 degrees C today and expecting minimum of 3C over night. I say thank god for global warming otherwise it would be really cold!
    ==========
    damn! I Knew it was cold out there, but 3? brr.
    I have self seeded tomatos, they and the pumpkins only just started ( late Jan)to do any growing or flowering, when Oct/nov would be a good start date. and now this cold will finish them off.:-(

  21. Here in central FL my wife tried growing tomatoes in plastic tubs last spring. Those plants are still sitting on my back porch growing fruit. I’ve never before seen a tomato plant yield a second crop. Maybe the cold December here helped re-invigorate them.

  22. Contrast the anomaly map above with the prediction from last June.

    I would say not in the same ballpark, but that doesn’t capture the disparity. I am starting tomatoes and peppers now.

  23. Nothing so re-enforces superstition as non-contingent or variable ratio re-enforcement. Just watch the old ladies at the slots anywhere they are allowed.

  24. I too am a bit disgusted by the whining of those who lament frozen tomatoes (or any food source that didn’t make it through a damaging weather event). Is it really true that we are so dumbed down by year round food imports that we have to be told that toms are not available due to weather? Really?

    If our toms froze, it was because we were too damn lazy to get out to the garden and pick them green.

    So just in case the general public does not know this: Red-ripe toms are a warm long summer fruit. Green unripe toms are a short cool summer fruit. Anybody with brains can clearly see the Earth is not in a warm long summer weather event (if you have to be told that then you are?). Either learn to love fried green toms and green tom salsa and chutney, or learn to love winter veggies. End of sensational story.

  25. Of course, this may have had nothing to do with the shortage.

    http://westernfarmpress.com/california-water-crisis-continues

    Funny how so many problems we face right now are man caused, without the need for lying(AGW). Oil prices skyrocketing, at least in the US it is because the current administration won’t allow any new drilling. Were the administration come out and remove restrictions and fast track all permits the price of oil would begin to fall, even with the upheaval in Libya and several Arabian nations. Food/commodity(non-oil) prices going up, see above and add ethanol and other bio-fuels eating up acreage, both of which are heavily subsidized.. Winters are hard enough on many crops, but add government intervention into the marketplace and we are royally…well you know.

  26. Tom_R wrote: “I’ve never before seen a tomato plant yield a second crop.”

    My experience is that that a tomato plant is a perennial. I have one that is into its third year. It yielded some tomatoes in its second summer. They were’t very big, but a lot of this is due to the fact that the plant was indoors and not getting essential sunlight. But if I put them outdoors the deer eat everything…..

    IanM

  27. It seems that growing vegetables in fields all year around is not the best solution. Last year the frost destroyed the strawberry fields (and more) in Florida. Even this time around the Californian wine producers are struggling with frost. The future might be found in building self contained massive glass houses in the US. This will create local jobs and avoids shipping (non-ripe crops) a long distance.
    See here:

    http://www.hortweek.com/news/993371/Britains-largest-tomato-growing-glasshouse-expand-Cornerways-nursery/

  28. Fortunately, Tomatoes, here in the tropics do not know of the tragedy.

    Tomatoes in the world. Unite. Say no to ketchup.

    “No Bloody Mary for Oil”

    or

    Alarmist front of the mirror…..Bloody Mary….Bloody Mary….ops…is hot.

    Jimbo says:
    March 1, 2011 at 3:27 am
    “P.S. I am currently working on a long list of contradictory claims and pair them up for comparison

    exemple,…by…. http://www.metsul.com/blog

    Understanding future patterns of increased precipitation intensity in climate model simulations

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wcc.81/full

    Drought under global warming:

    http://www.agu.org/journals/ABS/2005/2005GL023680.shtml

  29. @ShrNfr says:
    March 1, 2011 at 6:13 am

    “Nothing so re-enforces superstition as non-contingent or variable ratio re-enforcement. Just watch the old ladies at the slots anywhere they are allowed.”

    Didn’t know old ladies were banned from slots some places. Learn something new every day, eh? ;o)

  30. A tomato-related but not-particularly-CO2-related anecdote. In the town where I live (Slough, SE England) there has been a large influx of migrant workers, mostly Polish, in the last couple of years. As a result, the local supermarkets have begun to stock ‘Polish aisles’ with Polish brands, alongside the British stuff. The ‘British’ Italian canned tomatoes are labelled ‘Grown in Italy’, and cost nearly twice as much as the Polish-labelled equivalent, which are marked ‘Grown in England’! I don’t know, but I would bet that the Polish goods are bought from a Polish wholesaler, and probably shipped from Poland, in which case, the tomatoes have probably done the round trip – so perhaps CO2 related after all!

  31. Tomatoes are really fussy about temperature. I’ve been growing them every year for the last 30 years. It seemed effortless when I lived in Illinois for a few years after college (hot, humid summers). Then I moved to Amarillo and thought that given enough supplemental water I should be able to grow tomatoes with ease. Amarillo has a considerably longer growing season (forecast highs in the 70s for the next few days). But growing tomatoes proved to be a challenge. The elevation was nearly 4,000 feet, the summer weather is very dry and it cools off at night. My father-in-law in Michigan had big, ripe tomatoes by the 4th of July. I couldn’t get mine to ripen until August. Now I live in Santa Fe at 7,000 feet and growing tomatoes is even more challenging because it get quite cool at night even in mid-July.

  32. Jimbo says:
    March 1, 2011 at 3:27 am

    Jimbo. Your remarks are well timed for my own cool thoughts, that got me wandering?

    I am on tenterhooks awaiting the magic AGW bullet to explain all of the record cold temperatures we have been seeing in the past few months. (borrowed but apropo)

    The whole Northern Hemisphere is defiantly in a prolonged cooling/freezing cycle and a somewhat cooler Southern hemisphere. Can somebody tell me when the global temperatures for 2011 are tallied, adjusted, manipulated and finally put through the NASA GISS BOOSTER SPIN WASH CYCLE.
    Snarc off

    Shorely we are going to see a drop of in Global temperatures for 2011, even the most in your face warmist must recognize this cooling cycle is significant and the fact it has covered a huge area of the Earth for such a prolonged time?
    Explanations and comment would be seriously appreciated.
    Thanks.
    Ted.

  33. Jimbo says:
    March 1, 2011 at 3:27 am
    “I am currently working on a long list of contradictory claims and pair them up for comparison. I hope to put it up in a month or two. It was inspired by Number Watch and I am currently looking at Warmists’ other claims made over the years. I hope will be a valuable rebuttal for unrepentant Warmists.”
    //////////////////////////////////////////////
    I have long suggested that there should be a summary of the contradictory predictions, and the predictions that have not come good. I firmly consider that such a list should be posted at every opportunity so that the ordinary person can see how “robust” the “settled” science is.

    Jimbo, I am looking forward to reading your summary. Hopefully, you will post this on WUWT.

  34. Well it’s the first day of Autumn here and it’s freezing. Well, not literally, but anyway I’m not too worried as I’m allergic to tomatoes, they are in far too many sandwiches as it is :p

    I’ve got a running bet from last year that we will have three cold years, as soon as the drought broke in Australia and the La Nina came in, well it was a safe bet. It’s easy to predict climate shifts when you ignore anthropogenic influences.

  35. Dr. Dave said @ March 1, 2011 at 9:30 am:

    “Tomatoes are really fussy about temperature. I’ve been growing them every year for the last 30 years. It seemed effortless when I lived in Illinois for a few years after college (hot, humid summers). Then I moved to Amarillo and thought that given enough supplemental water I should be able to grow tomatoes with ease. Amarillo has a considerably longer growing season (forecast highs in the 70s for the next few days). But growing tomatoes proved to be a challenge. The elevation was nearly 4,000 feet, the summer weather is very dry and it cools off at night. My father-in-law in Michigan had big, ripe tomatoes by the 4th of July. I couldn’t get mine to ripen until August. Now I live in Santa Fe at 7,000 feet and growing tomatoes is even more challenging because it get quite cool at night even in mid-July.”

    Yes, overnight temps are critical for tomatoes. The plants will “sulk” if exposed to too low overnight temps.

    The main function of my greenhouse is to retain heat overnight. It has a large discarded fuel oil tank painted matte black filled with water to assist in this. The downside of the greenhouse is needing to water the plants and maintain constant soil moisture else the fruit splits. Tomatoes in an open air garden need far less watering.

    Also need to get home in time to close the ventilation for the night and remember to open up in the morning before it gets too hot.

  36. Pamela Gray says:
    March 1, 2011 at 6:29 am

    I too am a bit disgusted by the whining of those who lament frozen tomatoes (or any food source that didn’t make it through a damaging weather event). Is it really true that we are so dumbed down by year round food imports that we have to be told that toms are not available due to weather? Really?
    ———————————-
    I haven’t whined yet but I think I might give it a try.
    If you’re used to being able to buy avocados from a place that is used to being able to supply you with them and then something occurs to interrupt that consistent supply, I think a good whine is in order. I’m pretty sure the producers are having a bit of a moan, themselves. Are they disgusting, too?
    Are you suggesting there’s something reprehensible about eating ripe tomatoes from another locale in a season when you can’t produce them yourself?

  37. I had the same idea as Pamela Grey, and preserved a bunch of green tomatos. For my hours of labor? my daughter informed me they were a “choking hazard.”

    So I am looking for a good variety to grow in these shorter cooler tomato seasons.

  38. Oliver Ramsay says:
    March 1, 2011 at 10:38 am
    Pamela Gray says:
    March 1, 2011 at 6:29 am

    “Are you suggesting there’s something reprehensible about eating ripe tomatoes from another locale in a season when you can’t produce them yourself?”

    Yes, taste. The things they have the gall to sell as fresh produce in the supermarkets these days is bad enough to gag a maggot. The faux tomatoes are just one example. There are also the wooden tasting peaches, picked hard green and ripened to a wooden taste and texture afterwards. The cucumbers that should be picked young and tender are sold old, tough, and way oversized in a leathery texture. Likewise with the zuchinni squash, which should be sold young and tender, instead of old and hard. Oranges and lemons are picked green instead of tree ripe.. When asked if they would like to sell some fresh, local, and new ripe produce, they said they simply could not buy and sell from local producers, small or large. The much vaunted distribution system of today may brag about delivering produce from around the world in all seasons, but how much of it is a tragic waste of money and fuel for stuff that may be technically fit to eat, yet a pale pale shadow of a properly ripened or tender produce?

  39. The only way we can successfully grow tomatoes in most years where we live is by taking advantage of the greenhouse effect. Works great to avoid those early and late frosts.

    Now if only CO2 was glass or plastic I would take the AGW hypothesis much more seriously. Of course, the actual temperature in our tomato greenhouse still does depend on that bright thingy in the sky and cloudiness, which apparenly doesn’t matter to the AGW research-industrial complex/

  40. The Queensland floods and cyclone wiped out a lot of the tomato crop there. That is a big tomato growing area and international prices for tomatos were expected to rise as a consequence. To say more tyhan this would require a deeper analysis of the international tomato market than I really care to undertake. However the point is that it IS an international market, and in such a market you can’t analyse price movements purely in terms of domestic factors.

  41. Ian L. McQueen says:
    March 1, 2011 at 7:51 am
    …But if I put them (tomato plants) outdoors the deer eat everything…..

    Ian,
    Tomatos make a fine salad accompaniment to fresh grilled venison! Add pumpernickel and a glass of Malbec – Heaven!
    Think Global – Eat Local!

  42. I remember, several decades ago, reading a column from a Helena, Montana newspaper on the subject of the effect of warming on tomatoes. Seems that a very hot summer was causing the local tomatoes to turn red! As I recall, this was the cause of a great deal of alarm.

  43. My local Burger King the same sign in Naples, Florida, Our county has a huge winter crop each year. Normally, we are so far south that our tomato crops go unscathed by frost. Our tomato crops were wiped out this winter.

    But I am sure the readers of WUWT already knew our tomatos were wiped out by AGW this year.

    sheesh…

  44. Tom_R says:
    March 1, 2011 at 5:47 am
    Here in central FL my wife tried growing tomatoes in plastic tubs last spring. Those plants are still sitting on my back porch growing fruit. I’ve never before seen a tomato plant yield a second crop. Maybe the cold December here helped re-invigorate them.

    Back in about 2001 my soon-to-be-wife started some tomatos along a westerly facing stockade fence at her parents house. This is in New Jersey, mind. Those plants kept going until December! The fence line provided just enough reflected heat to extend the growing season enormously. The same principle was used, I believe, in creating fruit walls in England to provide citrus in an otherwise inhospitable climate.

  45. Pamela Gray says:
    March 1, 2011 at 6:29 am
    “If our toms froze, it was because we were too damn lazy to get out to the garden and pick them green.”

    In case you are not aware, as to those green toms; disinfect them with a mild bleach rinse and dry them, place them in large jars or a terrarium and they will ripen up over the course of several months. Yum. Fresh home grown toms in December! If you have the space to hang the whole plant indoors they will ripen on the vine.

  46. Wow, that was strange. I reloaded this page around 4:45pm EST, and the sidebar was changed, the comments were gone… Looks like this page was briefly hooked up with FoodPress. From here I gathered it’s a wordpress aggregating site, gathers up posts from wordpress-dot-com sites that feature recipes. Everything was back to normal after a reload. I have screenshots!

    Who knew talking about tomatoes could screw up this site? Must have been the mentioning of fried green tomatoes, salsa and chutney, and venison!

  47. The above posts are so right about night time temps being all important to toms. 55 F and above works well. We would stack sun-warmed black tires around the toms at night in chilly Wallowa County. That worked quite well. We also carefully tried to ripen the green toms on and off the vine per the instructions in a post above. Didn’t work. We liked fried green toms just too much to wait for green ones to turn red. And there is nothing better than a spiced up hotter-n-hell green tom salsa. Add trout, venison or elk to the mix and I’m in country-girl hog heaven.

    Addendum: veggies grown in hot-houses or shipped from far-off states and countries taste like sawdust. Even eggs have a different flavor (and yolk color) when the chickens themselves deliver their eggs to your front door.

  48. CO2 fertilisation of greenhouse tomatoes has been utilised by commercial growers for at least a couple of decades. IIRC an Australian grower was one of the earlier ones who developed the technique.

  49. For you tomato lovers, simply put one or two plants in big pots. I live at 6600 feet at 39.5°N. We expect frost Sept. 15 to May 31. Last summer I put one 3 foot plant in front of a big south facing window in mid-September. By the end of the year it was eight feet tall and turning out tomatoes like crazy. By the way, I’m on a north facing slope with hills to the SE and SW limiting sunlight to 4-5 hours a day from Sept. 30th to March 10th.

  50. So for you champeen tomato growers: Take your own to the burger joint. Bring an extra or two, and offer to swap one even up for a burger! They’d probably jump at it.

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