View Full Version : Ever wonder why American tomatoes have no taste

02-06-19, 18:32
Even my local, August farm stand ones aren't fabulous, nothing like the ones my relatives grow in Italy, so it can't just be because the commercial ones are harvested green. Well, the geniuses bio-engineered the taste right out of them.


The good news? They're trying to fix it.

"Humans eat a lot of tomatoes—around 182 million tons of the fruit (and yes, they technically are a fruit (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/explore/is-a-tomato-a-fruit-or-a-vegetable/)) are produced around the world each year. But the varieties that we buy in the supermarket are notorious for not tasting all that great (https://www.the-scientist.com/opinion/opinion-restoring-tomato-flavor-38804), due to years of tinkering by breeders. Now, as Roni Dengler reports for Discover (http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2019/05/13/tasty-store-bought-tomatoes-are-making-a-comeback/#.XNq819NKi3V), scientists have identified a flavor-making gene variant that is absent from most cultivated tomatoes, which in turn may help growers develop more tasty varieties in the future."

"It was breeding that led to the disappearance of these genes, as growers focused their efforts on selecting for traits like increased shelf-life, bigger yields and larger sizes, which are important to modern methods of production. But along the way, other important traits were lost; the new study found that genes involved in defense responses to various pathogens were the ones most commonly missing from domesticated tomatoes.

The researchers also identified a rare allele, or variant, of a gene called TomLoxC, which is likely to be of particular interest to breeders who hope to bolster the taste of their crops. “The gene influences fruit flavor by catalyzing the biosynthesis of a number of lipid-involved volatiles—compounds that evaporate easily and contribute to aroma,” says study co-author James Giovannoni (https://btiscience.org/jim-giovannoni/), a molecular biologist at Cornell and USDA scientist. Through their investigation, the researchers also discovered that TomLoxC facilitates the production of a group of organic compounds called apocarotenoids, which have a number of fruity and floral odors that influence tomato taste."

Meanwhile, buy heirloom tomatoes. Stores are starting to carry them.

You can import seeds from Italy for growing your own, but it's a long and tedious business trying to find what grows best in your soil and climate.


I got a lot of help from our local nursery when choosing an heirloom. I settled on the Brandywine Tomato. It's pretty tasty, but still not like Italian tomatoes. That's why for making sauces I still buy imported San Marzano tomatoes from Italy.


02-06-19, 18:57
Growing vegetables from seed, in your own garden, is a great way to reconnect with the earth, and our past. Only eating what your garden can produce in season brings you back in rhythm with nature, so, early in the year you don’t eat tomatoes, but when they come in you use them in every meal. It somehow makes sense of the seasons.

02-06-19, 19:04
One of my relatives (another genius, LoL) called the Tomatoes “ndacquati” meaning that the farmers over-water them and dilute the flavor :)