Thursday, June 28, 2007

Tomato Technology

Although I’ve never gotten involved with genetically modified produce, and don’t particularly plan on it, I find it very interesting to read about some of the developments others are making in that realm.

This topic, particularly with regard to tomatoes, came to mind this week after reading an article online about tomatoes being genetically modified to smell like roses. Take a look:

GM tomato has floral, fruity smell

25 Jun, 2007 / 0223 hrs / STlAFP

PARIS: Israeli researchers say they have genetically engineered tomatoes to give hints of lemon and rose aromas that have done well in testing on volunteers.

The transgenic tomato includes a gene from a variety of lemon basil, Ocimum basilicum, that produces an aroma-making enzyme called geraniol synthase, Efraim Lewinsohn of Newe Yaar Research Centre and colleagues report.

Read the full article here.

I can appreciate advances in “tomato technology.” In fact, I’ve made it my life’s work to advance the flavor of tomatoes. I also don’t think researchers and growers can really hurt anything by offering something new and innovative. But personally, I think this particular tomato is doomed to fail.


Tomatoes were never meant to smell like roses. Or taste like “lemon basil.” Tomatoes should taste like tomatoes.

Sometimes I think that some of the “traditional” tomatoes that you get at the grocery store don’t really taste like tomatoes either. But that’s for another post…

The motto we stand by at Santa Sweets is “Focus on Flavor.” But I’ll take this opportunity to clarify that the flavor I speak of is not rose or lemon or peppermint or blue raspberry—It’s that unmistakable juicy sweetness you get when slicing into a perfectly ripe homegrown tomato. That should be the aim of tomato growers.

Can your taste buds transport you to the glory days of summer when backyard heirlooms abound and you’re never short on slices to top burgers, toss into a tomato mozzarella salad or blend into gazpacho? I sure hope so, because that’s the experience I’m aiming for, for my customers.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

And we're back!

Greetings, tomato lovers and connoisseurs! We're back! Thanks to everyone for the positive comments you've left while we were away from our computers. We've been busy growing more UGLYRIPES to meet the overwhelming demand!

This is my first personal post and I hope you'll be patient while I get more familiar with blogging. But I promise to keep the site updated with posts about what's on my mind and address what's on your mind--your comments and questions--as best I can. In addition to my posts, some of the staff here will also be keeping the site updated with news, articles, commentary and other things that we think you'll find interesting.

So I'll take my first stab at answering some of the comments that have appeared. For our readers who have been inquiring to availability of UGLYRIPES, our time off from blogging has served you well. I'm pleased to report that we have built up our supply of both conventional and organically-grown UGLYRIPEtomatoes in the time since the USDA ruled in favor of taste over beauty-enough to make sure that every grocery store that wants them has them.

So if you're missing UGLYRIPES in your neighborhood, we have 'em. Just ask your grocer to stock them. If you still can't find them, post a note here with your city and state and I'll make sure that we personally track down the closest location where they are currently available.

The Santa Sweets crew and I look forward to a summer filled with tasty, juicy tomatoes and the assurance that after the summer passes, we'll finally have a fall and winter free of the Florida Tomato Committee's shape restrictions that will allow us to enjoy flavorful backyard-style tomatoes long after the summer has passed. You no longer have to settle for tomatoes that look great but taste bland in the winter.

I'd also like to encourage your participation on the blog and encourage you to use the comment section to start a conversation! Got a favorite tomato recipe to share? This is the place. Want to tell us your beef about someone's beefsteak? Let us know. So now it's your turn. Let us know what's on your mind!

Joe Procacci