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The story behind the blue tomato | New World Seeds & Tubers

Last weekend Tom and I (Rob) went on a junket to Corvallis, Oregon, and vicinity, to visit some interesting folks. The one pictured above is Jim Myers, godfather (in the nice sense) to the blue tomato.

He modestly told me that it was actually the idea of one of his grad students. Three of them worked on it.

Someone got hold of one of the prototypes and distributed it; somewhere along the line a nondisclosure agreement was probably violated.  It quickly made the rounds in both the USA and Europe, and got into the Seedsavers network.

Unfortunately that makes it hard to recoup their development costs, much less fund future projects.

To help them out, Tom wants to participate in the upcoming release of Oregon State University’s own variety, called “Indigo Rose”. 10% of the proceeds will go back to OSU.

Here’s what it looks like:

It’s about saladette size and type. For those of you not familiar with blue tomatoes, the color is only skin-deep (the interior of this particular variety is tomato-red), and it develops long before the tomato is ripe, which has confused a lot of people who think they’re ready as soon as they turn “blue” (eggplant purple, actually, though it is the same pigment as in blueberries).

Dr. Myers and his students already implemented some ideas for getting them as deeply-colored as possible, and they’ve got more ideas for possible ways to get the color to penetrate the flesh. Tom has been thinking about that too.

Tom would like to help work on the blue tomato project to build some synergy to help accelerate the development of blue tomatoes.


Don’t forget about the Cook’s garden fall planting promotion. Enter code FG1FREE at checkout, and get free shipping on all orders over $25. Offer ends August 2nd, 2011, so hurry.

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