How To Grow Tomatoes With The Best Flavor

I truly relish my backyard garden every summer. In preparation, I’ve been studying up on how to grow tomatoes with the best flavor. Along the way, I had recently run across an article that shed some light on why you just can’t seem to get a good store-bought tomato that tastes like anything. Here Jon Bardin writes for The Los Angeles Times and describes a recent study published in the journal Science that actually got to the bottom of the flavor question on a genetic level of understanding.

How To Grow Tomatoes With The Best Flavor

The mass-produced tomatoes we buy at the grocery store tend to taste more like cardboard than fruit. Now researchers have discovered one reason why: a genetic mutation, common in store-bought tomatoes, that reduces the amount of sugar and other tasty compounds in the fruit.

For the last 70-odd years, tomato breeders have been selecting for fruits that are uniform in color. Consumers prefer those tomatoes over ones with splotches, and the uniformity makes it easier for producers to know when it’s time to harvest.

grow tomatoes

Grow tomatoes with the best flavor using heirloom varieties.

But the new study, published this week in Science, found that the mutation that leads to the uniform appearance of most store-bought tomatoes has an unintended consequence: It disrupts the production of a protein responsible for the fruit’s production of sugar.

Mass-produced tomato varieties carrying this genetic change are light green all over before they ripen. Tomatoes without the mutation — including heirloom and most small-farm tomatoes — have dark-green tops before they ripen. There is also a significant difference in flavor between the two types of tomatoes, but researchers had not previously known the two traits had the same root cause.

Please read the entire article here at

When scientists modified the basic tomato varieties years ago, they weren’t thinking about how to grow tomatoes with the best flavor, instead they were selecting them for the best visual appeal and with the ability to be shipped long distances and not be damaged,thereby minimizing economic loss from physical damage. That, my friends, does not make for a flavorful tomato experience, let me tell you. When a tomato can bounce off the road like a softball, I wouldn’t want to eat it on my BLT. So for me, until they tinker with it enough to get the taste back, I’ll just be growing my own every summer. That warm savory sweetness can’t be shipped thousands of miles, it’s got to be had locally.

If you found this article enlightening, useful, or just interesting, why not leave a comment and let me know what else you’d like to hear about.

The most noteworthy thing about gardeners is that they are always optimistic, always enterprising, and never satisfied. They always look forward to doing something better than they have ever done.      — Vita Sackville-West (1892-1962), English aristocrat, author, and gardener

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About Mike Eis

Physician, Author, Marketer, Scientist, Problem Solver, Carpenter and Armchair Philosopher