The popular Tomato Sunshine is returning to the Cape Region this spring, and when it does, there will still be two DeAngelises running the show. The difference is it will be a mom-and-son-run business instead of husband and wife.
Standing in a parking lot across the street from the well-known farm market’s new West Rehoboth location, co-owner Donna DeAngelis said her 24-year-old son Julien will be the new face of the company.
“He’s the new Ernie,” said DeAngelis, laughing. Then pointing to her stomach, she said, “He’s been in this business since he was in the womb. He knows it as well as anybody.”
The original Tomato Sunshine Garden Center and Farm Market closed its Route 1 Rehoboth location in late 2016, after 27 years in business, to make way for Coastal Station, which now features Royal Farms, Iron Hill Brewery and Chaps Pit Beef. DeAngelis said Ernie isn’t getting back into the market because he has other projects going on that require his attention. He’ll still help every now and then, but for the most part it will just be Julien and herself, she said.
After two summers away from the business, DeAngelis said she and a vocal group of loyal customers missed having access to the produce they had grown accustomed to.
“I missed the people, and I missed the product,” she said. “I didn’t really realize what I had until it was gone.”
The new version of Tomato Sunshine will be a more manageable size. She said the garden center will have some potted plants, but the main focus will be the produce.
“This will be a tiny cherry Tomato Sunshine,” DeAngelis said.
One constant from the old to the new will be quality control of product. DeAngelis said they’ll continue to search trade shows and want to work with local farmers.
“We’ve always looked, touched and eaten our produce before we bought it,” she said.
DeAngelis said this summer, the market will be open air, but by next season there will be a pole barn.
DeAngelis said she recognizes the new location, on the corner of Canal Crossing Road and Central Street, doesn’t have as much exposure as the old location, but she said with Revelation Craft Brewing and Ocean Boulevard Furniture as neighbors, there’s a good mix of businesses cropping up in the neighborhood.
“This is a cool little spot,” said DeAngelis.
Other than hopefully by Memorial Day, DeAngelis doesn’t have a specific opening date in mind. She said a fence, and water and electric service are still needed, but once those things are done and the tables installed, she said it won’t take long. Opening for the season just seems to happen overnight, she said.
“We are excited. It will be fun,” she said.
DeAngelis said they’ll be open seven days a week, but the exact hours have yet to be determined. She said Tomato Sunshine’s Facebook page will be updated with information when more is available.