Sheldon Morrison’s quest for a good old-fashioned great tasting tomato and his wife Wanda’s desire for a greenhouse led the Morrisons to a solution that not only satisfied them both – but is delighting St. Augustine’s chefs and residents.
Although Sheldon grew up on a farm, he didn’t start farming on his own until retirement. After his first crop of tomatoes, Sheldon toyed with the idea of selling to restaurants. He talked to local chefs and found out what they wanted. What he discovered was a solid demand for locally-grown tomatoes. Not long after, Sheldon founded Morrison Tomato Farm under the premise of providing the finest tomatoes for the finest chefs.
Having found success with tomatoes, Sheldon wanted to expand to other crops. Curious what all the rave was about, Sheldon began growing datil pepper plants. He took his plants to the Datil Festival and it was there that he discovered the huge potential of his farm’s products.
Sheldon loves the taste of datil pepper, but most of what is on the market locally is much too hot for his taste. However, just a few months ago, Sheldon began making jellies (something that was completely new to him) and he found he could control the heat to his liking.
Making jams, jellies, sauces, and rubs was a natural progression to maintain a sustainable operation. Growing and drying herbs is the next step.
Sheldon has had a lot of fun not only growing his crops but experimenting with making new products – which don’t necessarily always turn out as planned. For example, his balsamic glaze he intended to use on his tomato caprese skewers became a meat sauce instead. He says he’s had a lot of pleasant “accidents” in his journey.
Visitors will have the opportunity to sample Sheldon’s jams, jellies, relishes, glazes at Morrison Tomato Farm’s booth at Made in St. Augustine. Be the first to try his Sweet Basil Datil jelly which will make its debut at the event. Depending on availability, Morrison Tomato Farm will also have fresh tomatoes and datil peppers.