Tomato Sunshine

/ Updated on May 15, 2014

Since 1990, Ernie and Donna DeAngelis have been running what is arguably the closest produce stand to downtown Rehoboth Beach (other than the Rehoboth Farmers’ Market on Tuesdays). Those of you of a certain age might even remember the first Tomato Sunshine on the land where the Comfort Inn now stands next to Jake’s Seafood on the highway. Though Tomato Sunshine is most certainly not a restaurant, and a lot bigger than your average produce stand, I categorized them as a market (they carry gourmet cheeses, sauces, jellies, jams in addition to cute landscape tchotchkes, stone and tons of plants, including those of the big tropical variety). True to their name, I’ve gotten the best tomatoes I’ve had this year from Tomato Sunshine.

Tomato Sunshine started small, but was well-known for their selection of tropical plants, including palm trees. They supplied palms to miniature (and not-so-miniature) golf courses, and devotees drove from far and wide to haul something home that was tall with big leaves.

In addition to an array of local produce, Tomato Sunshine carries a huge selection of fountains, yard furniture, outdoor sculpture, plants (and more plants), gardening supplies, annuals/perennials, and a line of prepared foods — even chips and dips. And I will repeat once more: The tomatoes (at least this year) are without equal. I like to make my own salsa, but the little red rocks sold by most of the grocery stores don’t impart nearly the sweet tomato flavor I require. Last season I picked up some sweet onions, a few of those plump and fragrant tomatoes and a few fat cucumbers from T.S. I seeded and roasted the tomatoes along with the onions, gave them a quick roast under the broiler, and popped it all into the food processor with a jalapeno (or two…), chopped cilantro, a little chopped parsley, the cucumber, salt and the juice of a couple of limes.

I make it the same way every time, but the Tomato Sunshine tomatoes made all the difference. No, this is not a commercial. I have the nasty emails to prove that I am not always this complimentary about things.

Check out Tomato Sunshine. Yes, they are a bit more expensive, but not all that much more than the grocery store. And the difference in quality is well worth it. Life’s too short to eat mediocre stuff. While you’re there, pick up some cheese, a bag of chips and maybe a fountain for your front yard. They’re open through the holidays, with autumnal goodies like pumpkins, and, of course, their tradition of selling Christmas Trees has continued for many years. The DeAngelis’ three sons help out at the place, and they are always well-stocked with goodies.

Tomato Sunshine is at 19791 Coastal Highway at the intersection of Holland Glade Road and Coastal Highway, just north of Outback and just south of Tanger Seaside. Call for off-season hours (302) 226-8794. In-season hours are 8am – 7pm, 7 days. Learn more about Tomato Sunshine by clicking here.

Never been? Shame on you. Give it a try. I dare you to not buy at least a couple of tomatoes.

(Note that we do not numerically rate markets, carryouts and such.)

The Rehoboth Foodie

About the Author

"My goal is to promote Rehoboth Beach dining while remaining honest and impartial. I don’t gush unless a place deserves it, and I don’t pull punches, either. With so many good places to eat around here, it just doesn’t make sense to waste the calories — or the money — on anything less." View all articles written by The Rehoboth Foodie

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  1. Carol Macfarland says:

    I couldn’t agree more about Tomato Sunshine. They have the best produce around and I love the gourmet jellies and stuff they sell. I personally shop there because of the DeAngelis Family. Mr. Ernie gives so much back to our community with his involvement in Boy Scouts and everything else his boys do. I believe it is important to support those in our community who support us and make a difference in so many lives.

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