Part of Hanna’s Tomato Tastings 2008
While the better part of the tomatoes I grow are heirlooms, I don’t specifically have anything against hybrid tomatoes. This year, I thought it would be fun to grow one of the tomatoes I talked about in “Corporate Tomatoes, Company Peppersâ€. A tomato developed specifically for the food industry.
As mentioned in the article, these tomatoes are nothing like the tomatoes you find in the grocery store. Just like your home garden, the manufacturing giants have the luxury of being able to pick fruit at the peak of ripeness and process it quickly. So, can food science produce a better tomato? What exactly does corporate perfection taste like? It cannot hurt to find out.
The description from the company I got it from reads:
(VFA) This is a determinate hybrid variety. It is a bit generic sounding for most heirloom tomato growers. However, this is going to be a trial for 2008 to try a commercial type tomato grown by Heinz Company. Maybe we should have also tried a Campbell’s type? Let’s find out if this type is very tasty or like some of our tasteless winter commercial purchases from our local grocery. Seed company states that it was “developed especially for the best ketchup, purees, and sauces”. Smooth, slightly flattened 6 oz. globes. Good resistance to disease and cracking/splitting. DETERMINATE, 80 days.
The Beauty Pageant:
Size: Medium. Every fruit is pretty much the size of a baseball.
Shape: Round and just a smidge wobbly shaped.
Color: Red. While I hope it does not taste like a grocery store tomato, it sure does look like one.
The inside: Slightly loose gel, but overall it holds up well to slicing. The seeds are rather large for the size of the tomato and I am willing to bet that is by design. This tomato was made to be turned into sauces and condiments, so large seeds would make it easier to mesh them out. Thick core with thin walls.
Texture: Very smooth, but the skin is a bit tough. Again, I would be willing to bet that is by design as the skins would need to stand up to a little additional processing to be removed.
Off the Vine Tasting: Tangy, very tangy and very full tomato flavor, especially in the gel. The meat is not as full flavored but still nice and has a sweet undertone to it.
Sliced and Salted Tasting: Salt really cranks the flavor and tang up. Once again, I would not be surprised if this was by design as this would be beneficial to a processed product.
Cooking Thoughts: While of course this would make a wonderful sauce (after all, I don’t think that a company would spend tens of thousands of dollars producing a sauce tomato that is no good for sauce) the strong tomato flavor of this tomato lends itself to all kinds of tomato-y things like bruschetta, salsa, salads, etc.
Very prolific plant. Well contained as well.
Will Hanna grow this one again:
Probably not. This is a very good tomato, but not one you will find on the trading lists (due to it being a hybrid) so I would have to buy it each year. It is just not that much of a wowsa tomato to go out of my way for it.