Green-shouldered tomatoes! Another reason to grow your own or get friendly with someone who does…
Tomatoes weren’t always “all-red”, and that change has essentially resulted in a loss of taste. Like varieties of flowers, the “taste” (a.k.a. the “fragrance”) has been bred out of modern tomatoes by a genetic mutation that ensures uniform ripening. As Kurt Buzard reports, green shoulders “come from the chlorophyll in plant structures called chloroplasts, which is what converts sunlight into sugars for the plant. In fact, those dark green shoulders were making those old tomatoes sweeter and creating more flavor. The uniform-ripening mutation [used in contemporary large-scale growing] disabled this gene.” Uniform ripening may have been good for the large-scale grower, but many are discovering they can now get the flavor back without losing production. How? Well, SCIENCE of course!
Researcher Henry Klee says that with some of this new science we have a chance to undo some of those decisions. “What I tell people is, we can have 100 percent of the flavor [of heirloom varieties] with 80 percent of the agricultural performance of the modern varieties, with very little work.”
Greener tomatoes here we come!