The fact that modern tomatoes have been bred for looks first (and durability
second) is nothing new. It is interesting that the specific genes and their
ancilliary functions have now been identified is interesting but the result
that the cost is in flavour is not a big surprise. Maybe (just maybe) this
will lead to the super tomato that has it all and no downside but until that
happens looks will triumph every time.
Here's a thought. If supermarkets provided taster samples of produce would
you take the time to taste? If the best taste was the worst look would you
buy for taste? Really?
Perhaps to the uninitiated. McDonalds does a good job of selling wadding
to keep your belly-button from rubbing against your backbone, and the
"best" thing about it is it has no flavor, but then USians have a long
history for rejecting flavor, be it wine, or tomatoes.
Another glitch in the commercial production of tomatoes is that they are
picked when still firm and green to minimize shipping damage, usually a
good two weeks before optimum ripe stage. They are then held in cold
storage up to a month before they reach the shelves of your market.
Ethylene gas chambers are used to artificially induce color and
ripeness. Heirloom tomatoes, on the other hand, are usually sold
locally, and as a result they can be picked, and sold fresh.
There is some minor redemption to be had for commercial tomatoes, if you
plan ahead. Tomatoes will ripen and develop a bit more flavor if left at
room temperature in indirect (not direct) sunlight for three to five
days or when placed in a paper bag with an apple or banana for a day or
two. They still won't be as flavorful as home-grown tomatoes allowed to
truly ripen on the vine, but there is some small improvement if you
don't have the luxury of a garden. However, if the supplier has not
judged properly and has picked those green tomatoes too soon, nothing
will help them.
Hydroponic tomatoes may look beautiful and perfect to the eye, but they
are sadly lacking in flavor and contain less vitamin C.
For most people, I suspect store bought tomatoes will taste just fine.
GMOs, and pesticides, though, are a completely different story.
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
by Michael Pollan
<(Amazon.com product link shortened)
(Available at a library near you, as long as they remain open.)
The fact that the nutritional quality of a given food (and of that
food's food) can vary not just in degree but in kind throws a big wrench
into an industrial food chain, the very premise of which is that beef is
beef and salmon salmon (and tomatoes are tomatoes). It also throws a new
light on the whole question of cost, for if quality matters so much more
than quantity, then the price of a food may bear little relation to the
value of the nutrients in it. If units of omega-3s and beta carotene and
vitamin E are what an egg shopper is really after, then Joel's
(Salatin/Polyface Farm) $2.20 a dozen pastured eggs actually represent a
much better deal than the $0.79 a dozen industrial eggs at the
supermarket. As long as one egg looks pretty much like another, all the
chickens like chicken, and beef beef, the substitution of quantity for
quality will go on unnoticed by most consumers, but it is becoming
increasingly apparent to anyone with an electron microscope or a mass
spectrometer that, truly, this is not the same food.
Act Globally, eat locally.
E Pluribus Unum
If God wanted us to vote, he would have given us a candidate.
That's not true. People grow heirloom tomatoes for the same reason
they frequent thrift shops searching for vintage merchandise, they are
romancing the past. Fact is most heirloom tomatoes nowadays are
modern hybrids; modern plant genetisists can pretty much produce any
look they want in a tomato... but there are even more modern round red
tomatoes one can grow at home with flavor just as good and better than
the ugli so-called heirlooms. It's a fallicy that things old school
are better. It's not fair to judge home grown heirlooms against
stupidmarket tomatoes. I've grown heirlooms, compared to my round red
homegrowns heirlooms were a big disappointment, especially their
texture; tough skins and seedy.
I don't suppose that you have any supporting evidence for this 'fact'?
Since the heirlooms breed true that says that they are NOT hybrids.
modern plant genetisists can pretty much produce any
There have been extensive taste tests done that reveal people can tell the
It's a fallicy that things old school
If you are saying that vine-ripened against cold-stored and ripened off the
vine is not a fair comparison of genetics then I agree. That is not the
whole story however, genetics makes a difference as well as environment and
I've grown heirlooms, compared to my round red
That was your experience, don't generalise it to the rest of the world.
On Thu, 12 Jul 2012 10:42:59 +1000, "David Hare-Scott"
I'm not dictating what anyone else experiences, everything I've said
is my experience. And there are no references for what people taste,
there is no accounting for taste... for all I know what tastes like
tomatoes to you tastes like bananas to me and vice versa and no one
can prove otherwise. Everyones taste buds are different, but keep in
mind that most folks are afflicted with TIAD.
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