Cranky but gorgeous is the tag on the punnet of beautifully mixed tomatoes from the Curious Croppers you can find at Farro Fresh.
It’s a perfect introduction to Ant and Angela Tringham and their personalities. A lot of ingenuity and care has made Curious Croppers a well known brand to Farro customers. Their passion for what they do is evident and as part of our ‘True Local’ campaign supporting Artisan Producers, this month we talked with Ant and Angela.
Anthony was already a tomato grower when he met Angela but eight years ago they extended their range and began their spot at the well known Clevedon Village Farmers Market. His background in horticulture had him as an established tomato grower supplying standard tomatoes to supermarkets. They wanted to do more and began investigating unusual varieties that would have a different appeal.
They saw the Clevedon Village Farmers Market as their testing ground to get direct feedback about what people wanted. Soon after they began to look further afield supplying restaurants around Auckland via the Produce Company.
At Farro we started a direct relationship with Ant and Angela enjoying having them as part of our in store tastings, sharing their funny stories about tomatoes and their antics. It’s been an amazing relationship, we have both grown so much over the past few years.
Ant and Angela’s children Max and Olivia are a big part of the Curious Croppers team often at the stand at Clevedon or at tastings at Farro. They say that Olivia knows the difference between all of their tomatoes and Max knows every step of the process of tomatoes, from vine to punnet.
Inside their hot house or ‘playhouse’ as they like to call it, Ant and Angela grow all manner of things besides their well known tomatoes. Aubergines, cucumbers, tomatillos, unusual herbs and vegetables.
They allow everything to go to seed naturally which helps their mini ecosystem to stay healthy and abundant. They don’t spray for the usual tomato suspects – whitefly and aphids, instead rely on a parasitic wasp and sticky traps to capture pests.
They say their key to beautiful, rich and colourful tomatoes is to keep them stressed. Limited space and limited water is their formula and it is a winner as we can certainly attest to the taste of their tomatoes.
They call themselves ‘tiny growers’ as much of what they do just would not be possible on a mass scale. So much of their work is manual and old fashioned however it is very important to them to achieve the best flavour.