On Wednesday, October 23, 2013 10:22:37 AM UTC-7, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Something I read recently has me rethinking tomatoes.
The source (sorry; don't remember) said tomatoes were "reddened" for marketability and in the process, taste was lost.
I haven't done the experiment, but think I'll ask a garden group if there's anything to this.
Your input appreciated.
Contemporary (post 1900) tomatoes were mainly bred for shipping to
markets and canneries. For that reason, the primary breeding goals
Develop consistent-sized fruit (of particular necessity for canneries)
Focus on determinate varieties that would ripen all their fruit within
a narrow window of time (to permit scheduling of deliveries and reduce
costs associated with picking)
Develop a tougher skin (essential for shipping, to reduce loss)
Develop a more *visually* appealing fruit (because customers buy based
on appearance, they're not usually allowed to try before they buy)
You'll notice flavor wasn't even on the list.
A good many old tomato varieties produced fruit with green shoulders,
or were a color other than deep red when ripe. Shoppers viewed deep
red as the ideal color, indicating ripeness, so green shoulders were
bred out of modern tomatoes, and work was done to develop fruit with a
deeper red color.
Many old time tomatoes were deeply lobed. Uniformity is more
attractive to shoppers, and easier for canneries to handle, especially
with regard to peeling and chopping. So they bred for uniform size and
Recent research has shown that the process of selecting for a deeper
red color is the primary factor behind the reality that modern tomato
varieties don't taste as good as the so-called heritage tomatoes.
Redder pigment is genetically tied to lesser flavor, alas.
So, after decades of research dedicated to the needs of the canneries
and marketers, what we ended up with were higher-yielding, prettier
tomatoes - deeper red, fewer flaws, more uniform shape - that don't
have as much in the way of flavor. With modern genetic engineering
techniques, it'll just be a matter of time before the 'flavor gene' is
built back into future tomato varieties.
On Wednesday, October 23, 2013 1:39:00 PM UTC-7, Moe DeLoughan wrote:
Wow, you really bore out my research, big-time!
I had just about decided to stop veg. gardening next year...but maybe I should rethink the decision, flavor-wise. Or maybe not. My So. Cal. beach city is actually not ideal for tomatoes.
Besides, maybe the seed sold in nurseries comes from the pretty-but-flavorless tomatoes we are discussing! It IS possible with some effort to locate real seeds on-line, but...
So bite the bullet and pay for REAL tomatoes in one of our four farmers' markets? Not cheap, but at least flavorful? Will monitor this with great interest to see if even the farmers' markets are growing from flavorless seeds.
Thanks for historical report. Am going to post this exchange on garden NG.
I don't know what it's like where you are, but heirloom tomato plants and
seeds are readily available every spring (planting time here in frosty
Michigan). I grew Mortgage Lifter (a beefsteak type) and Polish Linguica
(a roma type) this year. In prior years, I've grown Brandywine,
German Johnson (I crack up every time I type that), and one or two others
whose names elude me right now.
We can also get heirloom tomatoes at our farmer's market, but I'd rather
grow my own. My approach to vegetable gardening is that if I cannot grow
a markedly superior product, then I don't bother. So I don't grow broccoli,
potatoes, etc. They're fine at the grocery store.
On Thursday, October 24, 2013 8:01:07 AM UTC-7, Cindy Hamilton wrote:
Yeah, I'm with you. I sowed beaucoup broccoli and Brussels sprouts a month ago and just a few miserable-looking plants have sprouted.
On <alt.gardens> we're remembering the first anniversary of the death of Canadian Helen Foss, who always generously shared her enormous inventory of seeds from her own plants with all who requested. Never would accept so much as a dime of postage.
On Thu, 24 Oct 2013 15:01:07 GMT, email@example.com (Cindy Hamilton)
I've been growing them from seed I get from TomatoBob.com. No
affiliation except that I'm a customer and they almost all germinate
and florish. I've grown at least 20 different varieties over the last
few years but Cherokee Purple is my favorite so far. Almost all do
well though and taste better than anything I can get in the store.
But those and basil are all that I bother growing. I don't have enough
room to grow stuff that doesn't really taste any better than the store
Thanks. Cherokee Purple was one of the ones that I've grown whose
name I couldn't recall. I grew that and German Johnson the same
So far, I've liked Mortgage Lifter the best, but that might have
been because it was a good year for tomatoes. I had a lot of
trouble with blossom-end rot with Brandywine, but I love the taste.
I grow garlic. It's much, much, much better than that withered
Chinese import they have at the grocery store. Even after it's
been in storage in my basement for half a year, it's still
better. Plus, it's really easy to grow.
I do basil and parsley in pots on my patio, nice and convenient
to the kitchen.
On Tuesday, October 29, 2013 7:18:32 AM UTC-7, Cindy Hamilton wrote:
I'm with you! For years, I dutifully planted, but am beginning to realize, as you suggest, that one can buy just as good. But NOT in the market, where the vegs could have been shipped in from 1000's of miles away over several days.
I'm in So Calif coastal. We have 4 farmers' market in my town, as well as a Co-OP and some whole-food-type stores. So there's never a reason not to have good fresh veggies (organic if one desires) at all times, esp. for small family.
DID YOU BELIEVE!!! IMPORTING GARLIC FROM EFFING CHINA!!! When one of the major garlic-producing areas in the country is in No. Calif???!!! I really yelled at Trader Joe. They should know better!
Even after it's een in storage in my basement for half a year, it's still
I also grow garlic, but as a rose protector. I plant cloves between rose bushes. Sometimes they do yield a little bulb, but as long as they do their job to keep bugs off the roses, I'm content.
Put them in a paper bag. Check them daily.
If they're really, really green, they probably won't ever ripen properly.
If they were at the "breaker" stage, where they start to get kind of
white, there's some hope.
On 10/23/2013 12:22 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Not the latest idea but it has worked for me for many years.
Wash the tomatoes. When fully dry wrap them individually in several
layers of newspaper. This keeps them separated and slows down the
spread of rot from one bad tomato touching another. Put them in a
cooler with a few slices of apple distributed throughout the tomatoes.
Close the cooler and store in a cool area (basement).
We store tomatoes this way every year. They ripen slowly and retain
almost all of their original flavor. Much better tasting than the
grocery store varieties. Go through the cooler occasionally. Use the
softest and discard them when the paper is wet. Don't let the wet
touch another tomato. Use the tomatoes adjacent to the bad ones first.
On average we end up with at least ninety percent of what was
originally stored and have garden fresh tomatoes long into the winter.
Next best is to preserve the ripe tomatoes in sealers. Not all that
good on a sandwich but a great treat by themselves and there's nothing
better to start a spaghetti sauce.
Without a doubt tomatoes are my favorite from the garden.
On Wednesday, October 23, 2013 12:22:37 PM UTC-5, email@example.com wro
The yield per square foot of ground space occupied by tomatoes is pretty go
od if your space is limited. I've got a 1/2 acre yard, but only a 16 x 16
foot garden, all I usually feel like preparing each spring. Plus, trees ar
e getting very large after 45 years and starting to shade the garden a litt
le more each year.
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