All six tomato plants are healthy, sporting a plethora of green tomatoes. We have a heat wave moving through this week, with temps predicted in the 100s three days in a row, a boon for ripening fruit. What’s good for the tomato isn’t good for this fair-haired gardener, however, so I may follow the cats lead and take a nap on the cool tile floor for the entire afternoon. Ha!
Tomato sandwiches were a summer staple growing up. We grew our own tomatoes and used them in a variety of ways. I love eating warm cherry tomatoes, straight from the garden, bursting with flavor in my mouth. I miss those delicious red beacons of summer.
We rarely enjoy tomatoes served in restaurants these days, and find few tasty options at the grocery store. I assumed it had more to do with a too-early harvest, but I learned this last week from our local paper that it’s even worse.
Accordingly to Lisa Krieger of the Mercury News:
“Scientists have caught the culprit behind those tasteless tomatoes. Turns out, tomato growers’ best intentions over decades are to blame.
By Breeding tomatoes to ripen evenly and harvest easier, growers unwittingly robbed those sumptuous ruby reds of their taste.”
By disabling the GLK2 gene, tomatoes were more efficient and economical to process. What farmers didn’t know, is that tomatoes with the normal version of the gene are 20% higher in sugar content and 30% higher in lycopene thought to be useful in human nutrition.
What can we do?
- Heirloom tomatoes retain the gene, along with sweet cherry tomatoes. If you plant your own, be sure to choose these varieties.
- Shop at farmer’s markets when possible, where you are more likely to find heirlooms.
- Take some time to inform yourself of the Right to Know Movement. If you live in California, you can vote to label genetically engineered foods on the Ballot this November. Help ensure Californians have the right to know and choose what they buy to feed their families.
You can read Lisa’s full article on-line at Mercury News.com.