Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 20 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 2/21/18

Long Live the Jersey Tomato

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   4 comments
Message Jim Hightower
Become a Fan
  (45 fans)

From Other Words

Instead of trying to squeeze nature into a high-tech, corporate model, our food system should cooperate with nature.

(Image by Rob.Bertholf)
  Details   DMCA

Food corporations and their academic cohorts keep trying to "make" an industrial tomato to rival Mother Nature's product. And they keep failing.

They might consider this instead: the Rutgers 250. It's a revived version of the classic hybrid tomato bred in 1934 by Rutgers University and Campbell Soup. The Rutgers tomato's excellent flavor and texture made it the variety choice for years, eventually accounting for 60 percent of all tomatoes grown commercially in the United States.

But it fell out of favor in the 1960s, when big industrial growers in California and Florida switched to hard -- and tasteless -- tomatoes bred to withstand the crushing power of the harvesting machines they'd begun using.

The Rutgers variety soon disappeared from grocery bins and was forgotten until 2009.

That year -- with the Good Food movement mushrooming and with consumers demanding that supermarkets sell truly flavorful tomatoes -- plant breeders discovered that Campbell still had genetic material from the parent plants used 75 years earlier to develop the original Rutgers variety.

Since then, they've been working with it again, using cross-breeding techniques that go back to Latin America's pre-Columbian natives. Slowly but surely, they brought back the Rutgers and its natural flavor, glowingly described as "the very taste of summer."

The resurrected Rutgers tomato isn't hard enough to be machine-harvested and shipped across country -- which is one its major virtues. The fact that this tomato must be grown and marketed regionally is one step towards a decentralized, deindustrialized, and better food economy.

Instead of trying to squeeze nature into a high-tech, corporate model, this tomato represents an understanding that our food system can -- and should -- cooperate with nature and foster the growth of regional economies.

Valuable 2   Must Read 1   Well Said 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Jim Hightower Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Jim Hightower is an American populist, spreading his message of democratic hope via national radio commentaries, columns, books, his award-winning monthly newsletter (The Hightower Lowdown) and barnstorming tours all across America.

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is not about free trade. It's a corporate coup d'etat -- against us!

Trump Hates the American Public -- Here's How He Reveals His Disdain

The Post Office is not broke -- and it hasn't taken any of our tax money since 1971

The plutocrats who bankrolled the GOP primaries -- and what they want in return

Citizens United Against Citizens United: A Grassroots Campaign to Restore Democracy

The Audacity of Greed

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend