Montreal

The case of the missing cherry tomatoes

John Poveda is not sure who is behind the theft of 20 kilograms of tomatoes from his Coaticook farm, but suspects it may be someone who likes Mexican food.

Farmer suspects salsa lovers behind caper

Farmer John Poveda discovered the theft of his cherry tomatoes earlier this week. (Mike Groll/The Associated Press)

John Poveda is not sure who is behind the theft of 20 kilograms of tomatoes from his Coaticook farm, but suspects it may be someone who likes Mexican condiments. 

"They will be making 20 kilos of salsa for someone," said Poveda, co-owner of the Via Colibri farm, about 35 kilometres south of Sherbrooke in the Eastern Townships.  

Poveda arrived at work early Monday morning and found there were no longer any ripe tomatoes on his vines.

"We realized that around 20 kilos of tomatoes were stolen," he told CBC's Homerun on Friday. "We have an estimate of around $200 for those missing items."

While that may seem like a small amount, it's enough to hurt Via Colibri, a family-run farm that has only been around for three years. 

"20 kilos — it's not a joke," Poveda said. 

The theft was reported to police, but no arrests have yet been made.

What's up with Quebec thieves? 

The case of the missing tomatoes raises the question of whether any food product in Quebec is safe from thieves.

There was, of course, the Great Maple Syrup Caper of 2011-2012, in which $18 million worth of the sweet sap went missing.

As many as 25 people were initially charged in connection with the Great Maple Syrup Caper.

In 2012, thieves stole close to $140,000 worth of corn from a farm in Saint-Léonard-d'Aston.

An apple orchard owner had an entire field of young apple trees stolen in 2013. That same year, a farm in the Eastern Townships was robbed of thousands of garlic bulbs.

More recently, police arrested a 36-year-old man in connection with the theft 184 beehives from a honey retailer in Saint-Valère, Que.

With files from CBC's Homerun

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