Fresh tomatoes are extremely popular in foodservice outlets and homes alike, accounting for over seven percent of retail produce sales. A diet rich in tomatoes has been shown to improve heart health. Tomatoes contain lycopene, which has been shown to fight cancer. Lycopene is found in higher concentrations in cooked tomatoes. Tomatoes are also a good source of the antioxidant vitamin C, which has been shown to improve the immune system’s ability to fight disease and help fight cancer.


  • Temperature: mature-green or pink, 62 to 68 F, 16.7 to 20 C
  • Relative humidity: 85-88%
  • Typical shelf life: mature-green 21 to 28 days; pink, 7 to 14 days
  • Do not refrigerate
  • Highly sensitive to freezing injury and susceptible to chilling injury.
  • Never stack more than two layers high, and keep product stem up to protect tomato shoulders.
  • Because most tomatoes are picked mature but not totally ripe, they will continue ripening in transit. Tomatoes produce ethylene, a hormone that stimulates ripening. If tomatoes have not reached the appropriate color by the time they reach the local distribution center, their ripening process will be speeded up.
  • Ethylene treatment applied at shipping point starts the ripening process and assures more uniformly ripe fruit upon arrival at the destination point and shortens the period between harvest and display, therefore maintaining a higher degree of vitamin C.


  • Tomatoes are:
  • Low-fat
  • Saturated fat-free
  • Sodium-free (contain less than 5 mg sodium per 85 g tomato)
  • Cholesterol-free
  • Low in calories
  • A good source of vitamin A
  • High in vitamin C

Additional Resource:

California Tomato Farmers