Seasonal eaters and gardeners alike wait impatiently, for the first ripe tomato of the season–nothing tastes like a fresh garden tomato! Thousands of varieties of tomatoes are known, and hundreds actually cultivated.
The commercial tomato industry tends to utilize newer hybrids genetically selected for traits like spherical shape, thick skin and slow ripening (for picking green and gassing with ethylene when redness is desired). Local market growers choose varieties that emphasize flavor, disease resistance, and nutritional content.
The word tomato derives from the ancient Mayan word xtomatl. Native to Peru, the tomato was first cultivated by the Aztecs and Incas in the 8th century. It wasn’t until the 16th century that the tomato was introduced to Europe, via
Spanish explorers. The Italians were the first Europeans to begin eating the tomato, followed by the Spanish and French. It wasn’t globally accepted as a food until about 1850. Enjoy fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes while they last,as tomatoes are very cold sensitive.