All tomatoes grown in North Carolina are grown for fresh market and the majority of the industry utilizes the plasticulture system with raised beds covered with black plastic, drip irrigation, fumigation of soils and the string-weave culture system. The highest concentration of production is in Western North Carolina (WNC) and production is important but sporadic in Eastern North Carolina (ENC) and the Piedmont. Estimated total production is 2200 acres with average yields of 25 tons per acre for a total farm gate income of 31 to 33 million dollars. This represents 1.6 percent of U.S. fresh-market tomatoes ranking NC 10th in production.
Major diseases include the foliar and fruit pathogens and the root or crown pathogens. Foliar and fruit diseases include early blight, late blight (WNC), Septoria leaf spot, bacterial canker, bacterial peck (WNC), bacterial spot (ENC), and Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus. Major root and crown rot diseases include Verticillium (race 1 and 2; WNC); Fusarium wilt (race 1,2,and 3; WNC), bacterial wilt (primarily in ENC), southern stem blight (ENC), root-knot nematode and pith necrosis.
The majority of the industry uses conventional practices but there is a growing organic market. Organic systems tend to rely on heirloom or otherwise less common varieties that typically do not have effective resistance against the common pathogens and rely on intense land management and cultural management practices for production.