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.

1 comment:

C.L. Jahn said...

My family raised tomatoes in South Jersey for generations; my great-great grandfather used to supply tomatoes to Campbell's Soups. We always had a couple of tomato plants in the garden; we love our fresh Jersey tomatoes.

The Feltens haven't farmed Camden County in many years now; the orchards are scattered amongst the homes of Cherry Hill, or cleared to become the Pennsauken Country Club, but all that flavor is found in the Ugly Ripe tomato. Thank you.