Waitrose, Auctioneers & Valuers of Fine Produce, have announced that a record price has been fetched for a tomato at their Marlborough showrooms yesterday afternoon.
The sale of the tomato, once one of a matching set of six, was acclaimed as a new record for the small fruit, described in the catalogue as extremely rare due to a provenance guaranteeing its non ‘organic status’.
The winning bidder was solicitor Janet Catchpole. ‘Things were tense as the auction got underway,’ she said, ‘and although the bidding went a little above the amount I had planned to spend I’m delighted with my purchase. It’s a real privilege to be able to take this tomato home with me. It will take pride of place with the peach that I bought at Marks & Spencer following my recent lottery win.’
‘We are seeing considerable growth in the fruit and vegetable market at the moment,’ said auctioneer Brendan Southgate, ‘of course this particular tomato had some damage, with the vine having been removed at some stage in its history by some vandal, but that does give it more character. A lot of collectors are going for the austerity ‘lived-in look’ at the moment. Even downmarket showrooms such as Lidl are recognising this with their new Saturday afternoon ‘slightly bruised’ fruit sales.’
'Prices are sky high for gems such as tomatoes and soft fruit. To think that people used to eat these things is quite astonishing.’