Thank You For Growing With Us.
We are tomato growers. It’s what we do. It’s what we love. It’s how we live. Journey through 10 years of tomatoes with us.
An Idea is Planted
Paul Sellew, frustrated by the lack of fresh tomatoes in New England during the winter, decides to build a commercial greenhouse in Maine. With the help of investors, Paul purchases a 250 acre dairy farm in Madison from Eric Walters, who later becomes the original face of the brand. And just like that, Backyard Farms is born.
The brand starts to grow
Since Maine is known mostly for lobsters and lighthouses, we market our tomatoes as “New England Grown” rather than “Maine Grown.” As our goal is to grow tomatoes that look as good as they taste, we name them “Backyard Beauties.” With the branding complete, it’s time to build a greenhouse.
Greenhouse #1 is built
After nearly two years of construction, our first 24-acre greenhouse is ready for planting. At 1,045,440 square feet, it’s the largest single roof structure in the state of Maine and still is today. Inside Greenhouse #1 we plant our famous, original variety – Tomatoes on the Vine.
We’re in business
The first truck full of Backyard Farms tomatoes ships out of our greenhouse on January 29, 2007 bound for Hannaford Supermarkets. To celebrate, we throw a party in the greenhouse where our employees are joined by Hannaford President Ron Hodge, Governor John Baldacci and several other business and political leaders. We’re officially open for business and New England winters will never be the same.
Greenhouse #2 is built
Within three months of launching Backyard Farms, we break ground on our second greenhouse in order to keep up with the demand for our delicious products.
Who wants a cocktail?
Our second 18-acre greenhouse gives us the space to develop a new signature product, cocktail tomatoes, which are as perfect for snacking and cooking as they are for salads. Instead of packing them in typical plastic “clamshell” containers, we pack our new cocktail tomatoes into a cardboard box made from 100% recycled paperboard making it hard for people not to love everything about them.
Time for a rebrand
With our business seven years old, we decide it’s time for our brand to get a makeover. Instead of a logo that some people thought resembled a beach ball and a box that was sometimes hard to find on the shelf, we totally redesign our package and make it more reflective of the brand.
A Setback Sets the Stage for a Strong Comeback
After seven years of continuous production, we experience a setback. – high levels of white flies. White flies are bad news because they damage not only our plants but the tomatoes that drive our business. We decide to take no chances. We pull all of our plants and completely clean out the greenhouse. Employees are furloughed for a short period of time and we vow to come back stronger and better than ever. And we do.
Whole Foods Honors Backyard Farms
After being totally out of the market for nearly a year, Whole Foods names us its 2014 Produce Supplier of the Year for the North Atlantic Region. It’s the ultimate reward for the countless hours of work it took to bring our greenhouse back into production and get our delicious tomatoes back on shelves.
Backyard Farms Extends the Family
Our customers suggested we share delicious, easy to prepare recipes that use our tomatoes. So, we sought the expertise of some of the best culinary minds in New England like Mary Ann Esposito, host of Ciao Italia on PBS, Shannon Bard, owner of Zapoteca in Portland and Toroso in Kennebunk and Richard Rayment, executive chef at the Seaport Hotel in Boston. Thanks to these talented chefs and contributions from our passionate customers, you’ll find over a hundred amazing recipes to help you use our tomatoes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even dessert.
10 Years of Growing Together
A lot has happened since that first truck pulled away from the loading dock ten years ago. Thanks to loyal customers like you, we have been able to become the company we are today. On behalf of the 230 year-round employees at Backyard Farms, THANK YOU for your support for the past decade. We invite you to stay on top of all the latest news from the greenhouse by connecting with us using #AlwaysTomatoSeason on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest or subscribing to our monthly newsletter. We look forward to 10 more years of growing together!