Bettina Romano is carrying on a long tradition of growing top quality capri tomatoes and other Mediterranean vegetables. This tradition started in 1925 when Cataldo Romano, the grandfather of Bettina’s late husband, Nick, arrived in Nelson as a 16-year old Italian immigrant. He, along with a number of his compatriots helped establish the market gardens and build the tomato glasshouses in The Wood. Over time the glasshouses were replaced with housing but the Romano's glasshouses and Fruit & Vege Shop remained. Tony, Cataldo's son had taken over the business but when he retired in 2003 Bettina and NIck decided to keep the business going and relocated the glasshouses to their property in Hira.
As well as growing tomatoes, Nick and bettina opened a store in Trafalgar Street, opposite Trafalgar Park and launched their own brand of tomato sauce. When Nick died suddenly in 2013, Bettina decided to close the store and focus on her children and the growing. Her father-in-law Tony was instrumental in teaching her and shared his secret fertiliser recipe which Bettina states "is one of the key reasons we can grow the Isle of Capri's so well, That and a lot of hard work I say!".
Bettina loves that the farmers market is all about local growers. There is nothing imported or out of town, it really is straight from the grower to the consumer. There is also a great community sense about it. Customers who come down to visit us are regualrs and it's great to get to know like-minded people who enjoy and are passionate about our quality produce.
Romano's are so proud of the fact that they get to carry on a long-standing family tradition. There's something so special about being able to grow a unique product - the Capri's that have been in the family for such a long time. They hope to be able to carry on this tradition for many more years to come.
Products and Availability:
Capri tomatoes, Flavarino tomatoes, Fennel, Cucumber, Capsicum, Eggplant, Zucchini. Available from November to January.