Red Baron is a diversified agricultural operation with the core business being the growing, packing and marketing of top quality tomatoes.
Red Baron Tomatoes is a premier tomato grower in the Eastern Cape renowned as having the best tomato growing climate of South Africa. Red Baron grows, packs and markets flavoursome vine ripened tomatoes. Our range includes vine ripened truss tomatoes and standard tomatoes.
Red Baron tomatoes are grown by a dedicated team of growers committed to giving the customer a hydroponic tomato that has flavour. Our guarantee to the customer is that we will only put our ‘RED BARON’ brand on the tomatoes that have the fabulous taste.
Picked directly into the tray or bag, ripe and ready to eat, Red Baron truss tomatoes retain the aroma and flavour that make them so popular. When kept at room temperature, the Red Baron truss will keep for 2 - 3 weeks.
ROMANS 12 v2
“Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world but transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God – what is good and pleasing to him and is perfect.
The company is led by Andrew Emslie, descendant of 1820 farming stock, who has a wealth of experience in agriculture and specifically hydroponics. In 2000, Andrew and wife Sharon who is the Head Grower, founded Red Baron Tomatoes near Sunrise on Sea just outside East London. The business has grown to 60,000sq metres on 3 different sites and includes a packing facility and marketing services.
The focus is shifting away from the common standard long-shelf life round tomatoes produced by everyone else to tomatoes on the vine (truss tomatoes) We have responded to the question asked wherever we go – what has happened to the taste of tomatoes. After years of testing different varieties and a travel to Australia and Europe we have finally come up with a product that answers the flavour questions and can say with certainty – the taste is back!
Lee-Anne Andersen is driving the marketing of the product and her dynamism has added a new dimension to Red Baron Tomatoes. Relationships with a large range of customers have been developed to ensure that regular orders are in place for the top quality tomatoes produced week in and week out.
Production systems incorporate automatic computer technology to control irrigation and the greenhouse environment has assisted in the endeavours by Red Baron to attain world class standard levels of production. A water treatment system has also been installed to ensure that any water given to the plants is purified to SANS standards thereby eliminating pathogens that could be harmful to both plants and humans. Red Baron is one of a handful of farms who take this much trouble to ensure disease free plants and healthy tasty fruit.
We at Red Baron regularly review our products to ensure we deliver CONSISTENTLY a RED JUICY TASTY TOMATO to our customer.
The business has grown to 50,000sq metres. The focus has shifted completely away from the common standard long-shelf life round tomatoes produced by everyone else in the country and we have responded to the question asked wherever we go – what has happened to the taste of tomatoes.
All greenhouses incorporate new automatic computer technology to control irrigation and the greenhouse environment has allowed Red Baron to attain world class standard levels of production.
A water treatment system has also been installed to ensure that any water given to the plants is purified to SANS standards therby eliminating pathogens that could be harmful to both plants and humans. Red Baron is one of a handful of farms who take this much trouble to ensure disease free plants and healthy tasty fruit.
We at Red Baron regularly review our products to ensure we deliver CONSISTENTLY a RED JUICY TASTY TOMATO to our customer.
After years of testing different varieties and travelling to Australia and Europe, we have finally come up with a product that answers the flavour questions and can say with certainty – "THE TASTE IS HERE TO STAY!"
RED BARON Tomatoes are available in a variety of package and weight options.
Hydroponic growing is defined as growing in a soil free medium. This can take many forms but in all cases plants are fertilized through the application of water - continuous or intermittent. Red Baron tomatoes are all grown under cover - in plastic covered state of the art plastic green houses imported from France.
The tomato Variety KAIROS has been the variety that has been identified to meet the taste needs of the consumer. Red Baron now focuses on this truss variety.
The seed is placed in cubes in the propagating house for 3 days at 29oC 100% humidity until germination takes place. Once the plant has reached its third week it is planted out into the greenhouse. The plant is then supplied with a dripper, which will provide water and fertilisers for the rest of its life. The plant is closely monitored to ensure its nutrient and environmental requirements are met so that Red Baron tomatoes deliver the taste our customers have come to expect. Computers control environment, watering, humidity and heating in all the greenhouses but the human "green finger" touch is never far away.
The life of a plant is between 9 to 12 months and each plant will produce 15kgs to 20kgs of tomatoes. In this time plants grow to 10 to 12 m in length and are wound onto string hanging from wire in the roof of the greenhouse. This allows plenty of air and sunshine which enables Red Baron to nurture and develop premium grade tomatoes.
Red Baron harvest beautiful bunches of tomatoes (TRUSSES) and special premium single red pieces of fruit. This fruit is delivered daily to the market year round. Take advantage of this bountiful supply and enjoy them while they are at their best.
Efficient water use is a high priority focus point in the Red Baron strategy. Currently our highly efficient irrigation system only uses 23 litres of water to produce a kg of tomatoes. An outdoor field grower would need approximately 60 litres to produce the same result.
Red Baron provides a professional and efficient packing and marketing service for growers. The core focus is tomatoes and sweet peppers while other vegetable are also handled upon request.
Each supplier has their fruit packed separately and grading and quality reports are forwarded weekly to provide vital feedback to the grower. The fruit is then pooled into various grades for marketing and an average price of each price is paid to the grower according to the grading reports. Fruit is distributed throughout South Africa. Approximately half the fruit is sold on the fresh produce markets while half is sold direct to retailers and delivered to their door.
We pride ourselves in accurate and fast packing and are very flexible in terms of what we can do for the customer. The focus is on keeping our customers happy – firstly the grower supplying the fruit and this is followed by impeccable service to the end user. Being large growers ourselves means that we understand the importance of cost effective packing solutions to maximise the net payout to the grower. Where possible returnable plastic containers (RPC’s) are used in the place of cardboard to keep packaging costs down and the added benefit is the smaller impact on the environment.
The packing and marketing package is complimented by an advisory and support service to the grower. Here assistance is given in management of crops as well as sourcing essential inputs such as fertilizer and growing medium in bulk. The increased buying power of the group of growers enables discounts to be negotiated which are passed onto the grower who is also able to focus on growing the crops rather than hassling to source well priced inputs. Grower collaboration is encouraged to assist all of us to become better producers.
Consulting and project management have become an extension of the business where the in-house skills acquired over many years of involvement in the agricultural industry are shared with other operations. Activities such as feasibility studies and turnaround strategy business plans are some of the services offered.
Farming has always been considered to be a lifestyle career, however this has changed dramatically and the need to run a farm like any other business has become a pre-requisite to success. Red Baron has recognised this and the consulting service aims to meet a farmer where his or her need is.
The emerging farmer sector is vital to South African agriculture and we at Red Baron have made a commitment to ensuring that we are available to make our contribution to strengthening the industry as a whole.
Andrew Emslie – 0836620529
However whilst our tomatoes are good for you, we also endeavour to provide you with the best tasting tomato. A lot of people complain 'why can't the tasty things be good for you?' We at Red Baron think we have changed this, so enjoy our tomatoes for the taste, whilst getting the nutrition and health benefits that tomatoes provide.
Truss tomatoes are grown in such a way that the tomatoes are left attached to the vine. This is a sort of quality control so that the consumer has a guarantee that all of our Red Baron premium truss tomatoes are left to ripen on the vine, maximising the flavour and juiciness in every tomato.
If you look closely at a truss tomato, they vary in ripeness between the top and the bottom tomato. The top tomato is the ripest and should therefore be eaten first, however all of the tomatoes should be left on the vine as each tomato will continue to draw nutrients out of the vine, giving the tomatoes longer shelf life, and more sugars as they ripen. It is therefore very important to treat the tomatoes carefully so as to keep them attached to the vine and out of the fridge, maximising the eating qualities of our tomatoes.
By now you've probably been told a million times that you should never put tomatoes in the refrigerator. But aside from knowing they'll get soggy and taste a little worse for the wear, do you really know why?
Tomatoes originate from warm, desert-like climates, so they prefer to be hot. Tomatoes stored in the fridge aren't just unhappy, they undergo a chemical change that weakens their flavor and alters their texture. The beloved tomato taste -- that deep, grassy flavor -- is the result of aroma volatile compounds. Refrigeration not only stops the production of new aroma volatiles, but it also deteriorates already existing ones, a study from French National Institute for Agricultural Research proved.
And then there's the texture. The cold breaks down cell walls in tomatoes, causing them to turn mealy. Actually, that can occur when temperatures dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and most refrigerators are set below that at 40 degrees. In sum, a refrigerated tomato will taste like nothing, and consist of a mealy texture (especially if that refrigerated tomato wasn't perfectly ripe to begin with).
No. The seeds we use are hybrids. This is true for almost all commercial varieties and is a way for seed companies to recoup the money they invest into research for new varieties that are resistant to pests and have stronger growth habits. We make sure that the seed companies’ breeding programs are all natural and that our tomatoes are definitely not genetically modified.
There is a lot of confusion about what products are organic and what products are not. A recent survey showed that many consider greenhouse tomatoes as less healthy than field grown produce. This is not true because firstly the greenhouse limits insects from getting to the plants and we have been able to reduce our chemical use by 50% compared to outdoor growers.
However hydroponic does not mean organic because we still have to use some pesticides to combat insects. However, there are naturally occurring insects that combat tomato pests, without the use of chemicals. Unfortunately there is not a full arsenal for each pest that can affect tomato plants, but the technology of breeding natural enemies of tomato pests is rapidly improving, we can see a future of not using any pesticides at all. If people continue to demand healthy foods, that future maybe a lot closer than you think, so while we do not spray for some pests, we do for other pests. Because we would kill the beneficial insects if we would spray them with the harsh chemicals that other farmers might use, we choose our chemicals very carefully.
We use food grade fertilisers and we select our suppliers based on how food safe their fertilisers are. We are able to then provide our plants with the optimum ‘diet’ of nutrients so the plants grow healthy and the fruit tastes great. The use of the word diet is not accidental as all the fertilisers we use consist of non organic nutrients which you’ll find in any vitamin supplement pill. Nutrients such as Calcium, Iron, Magnesium etc. Those exact nutrients end up in the tomato which we feel is a much better and tastier way of maintaining your body’s mineral level than swallowing a pill!
Our tomatoes are grown in a growing medium called coco peat. This is a by-product from the coconut industry that is recycled as a growing medium. The material is made from the husk of the coconut and has the same characteristics as peatmoss. The coco peat, as it is called, is great for growing tomatoes or any kinds of plants as it has a great capacity to hold nutrients but also retains oxygen. In this system nutrients are still added to the feeding solution.
After use in our glasshouse, the coco peat is reused by a nursery to improve and enrich soils that are low in organic matter content so there is no waste.
Red Baron Tomatoes are available from selected quality purveyors of fine fresh foods.
Contrary to popular belief there is no such thing as low acid tomatoes. This is a concept that was introduced by the tomato canning industry in the 1950’s. Research has been done into the acidity of various tomato varieties, but very little difference was found. The best way to reduce acidity in tomatoes is to let them ripen on the vine, which is exactly what we do. Part of the reason our tomatoes taste good is because we only harvest them when they are ripe. This allows the natural sugars to develop fully, and reduce the acid. The best advice we can give is to only eat the ripest fruit and avoid orange coloured fruit.!
Tomatoes contain calcium and vitamin C, to name just two of their beneficial properties. A study done recently found that people in Northern Italy who ate 7 or more servings of raw tomato per week had up to 60% less chance of developing colon, rectal, or stomach cancers compared to individuals who ate two servings or less. There are also indications that tomatoes may play a role in the prevention of heart disease, high cholesterol, and fatty deposits in the arteries.
The nutrient most responsible for these health benefits is lycopene. Lycopene provides the red colour to tomato products and is one of the major carotenoids in the diet of Europeans. Lycopene has been found to have an anti-oxidant effect on cells, decreasing the risk of a host of cancers, with prostate cancer being the most notable and increasing evidence of a decrease in breast cancer.
However whilst our tomatoes are good for you, we also endeavour to provide you with the best tasting tomato. A lot of people complain ‘why can’t the tasty things be good for you?’ We at Red Baron think we have changed this, so enjoy our tomatoes for the taste, whilst getting the nutrition and health benefits that tomatoes provide.
Do you know how Red Baron hydroponic truss tomatoes are grown?
We would love to share our secrets with you!
Come and visit us near Sunrise on Sea and you will be shown what it means when we say “seed to shelf” for the sweetest and richest flavoured tomatoes you have ever sampled.
We conduct week day tours (2-3hours) for up to 35 school children. This is part of our contribution to encouraging healthy nutritional habits from an early age.
The emphasis is on a fun, hands on learning experience where children will enjoy walking through greenhouses, picking their very own Red Baron trusses. The farm experience is completed with tractor and pony rides, and a short walk along a farm track to a beautiful farm dam.
Contact Sharon Emslie on 083 226 0265 to discuss your schools requirements.
Andrew Emslie 083 662 0529
Sharon Emslie 083 226 0265
Marketing & Sales