We used to have great weather out here in California for growing tomatoes! The tomato growing industry was prolific here all the years I was growing up. A couple of years ago, they had to close the Ragu Spaghetti Sauce factory in Merced (central California) because it's no longer viable to produce tomatoes out here on a large scale. They're still in business, so I am sure they're operating and growing tomatoes SOMEWHERE... just not here.
Edited by HHandbasket - 1/8/12 at 10:58am
Some tomatoes do still grow here, but on a much smaller scale than 20 or 30 years ago. Last year and the year before, the only tomatoes I had that turned red on the vine were the cherry, grape, and small romas. I had about 20-25 pounds of tomatoes grow and turn green and beautiful and big, but it never got hot enough for them to turn red. Two years ago, our plants started producing big beefsteak tomatoes around mid June, and normally I would pick around mid July. Finally that year in September, I got tired of waiting for them to turn red on the vine, picked them, and fed them to the chickens. We only had 5 pounds of tomatoes actually turn red on the vine that year (outside of the cherry/mini tomatoes). Last year, I only harvested a dozen usable romas off our vines and about 2 dozen usable cherry tomatoes... though I confess, I planted very late last year so was happy we had ANYTHING.
When they come up into the Sierras in January to measure the snow pack, it's normally measured in feet. Last week when they came, it was only measurable by inches. There's no snow on the slopes, and the ski resorts and businesses that depend on skiers and snowboarders are suffering. It's hard to say when to plant because just about the time we realize spring has sprung, we'll plant and then it'll snow and kill everything.