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Jun 1, 2006 03:05 PM

Brown tomatoes - capable of enhancing the sex lives of reptiles

  • r

You say tomato, I say kumato ... or in the US, Rosso Bruno.

This week Raley's in California has a sale on this new variety of tomato. It is brown/olive green.

The company that sells these tomatoes says that their concern is getting the public to accept the color. Actually they are quite attractive. Unfortunately the taste isn't all that the hype would have you believe.

For a supermarket tomato it is ok, but it is still a supermarket tomato. They are carefully packaged but this is a firm tomato that I think could be bounced on the floor without bruising.

I'm not sure if my local Raley's mishandled them and refrigerated them somewhere along the line, but while the outside was firm and pleasantly crisp, the interior had just a tiny suggestion of mushiness like a tomato that's been refrigerated and brought to room temperature.

I guess they were introduced in Europe a few years ago and called a kumato. The US distributor is calling them Rosso Bruno.

Wading through all the hype from the European and US distributors, it does seem to have some good points -

- they are naturally vine-ripened and don't use artificial processes to ripen

- No herbicides are used, only natural predators (good bugs) to control pests

- supposedly it is higher in vitamin A and fiber than the standard red tomato

I'm going to let the other tomato try to ripen to what the site says is the optimal eating condition.

The company made up this bogus story about a young Italian farmer who fell in love with a pretty girl, so he developed a tomato to impress her.

It was brown like her hair, the sweet robust flavor to reflect her ... well, blah, blah, blah ... you can read the story on the web. It leads up to the marketing slogan "Inspired by passion, you'll fall in love with the taste".

Actually, they missed the mark and should have went with the real origin and story. People would be flocking to the store to snap up the tomatoes that, it seems, is an aphrodisiac for giant Galapagos tortoises.

And hey, if those tomatoes helped enhance the size of those turtles ... you got yourself a product. I just hope this doesn't lead any spam about tomatoes and uh, well, you know.


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  1. BUMP!! Yes i know this is an old thread, but i had a kumato today for the first time. Yes, the idea of a brown tomato isn't all that appealing, but you are right, they are quite beautiful. For a winter tomato, and yes i realize this is quite the qualification, it was downright tasty! Obviously nothing compares to the lovely heirloom tomatoes i grew in my garden, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. My produce guy recommended them as i was checking out the "ugly" (i hate that term) tomatoes, and i'm glad he did. The seeds and jelly were especially sweet.

    1. Not sure exactly what they're trying to market but there's a class of tomatoes called "black" that have a range of identifiable colors from dark olive thru deep red and brown to a sort of purple. Varieties include but at not limited to Black from Tula, Carbon, Cherokee Purple and Paul Robeson (named after a famous 50s era Black folk singer).

      Personally, they're some of my favorite tomatoes and I grow a couple varieties every year.

      Tomatoes naturally come in a whole spectrum of flavors and it's really only conventional public tastes that have caused geneticists and growers to get locked in the mold of developing a narrow red globe.

      1. Several years ago this was discussed on the Daves Garden tomato forum. One of the posters contributed the following:

        "Syngenta introduced this F1 hybrid several years ago in England, Australia and Europe and changed the name to Rosso Bruno when they introduced it in the US several years ago."

        It is probably a hybrid so saved seeds would not breed true. If you want to raise dark-skinned fruit from seed, try the open pollinated Cherokee Purple, Black Krim, Black Prince, Black Russian or Black from Tula.

        1 Reply
        1. re: DonShirer

          or If you really need a brown, there Cherokee Chocolate, Amazon Chocolate Mr. Brown etc. Indishe Fleish is sorta brown too (though closer to pinky grey)

          Actually the only tomato I can think of whose color I would consider "unappetizing" is Purple Calabash. Unlike most purples/black (which thend to be dark pinkish with a green overlay in the skin or dark pink/red and green mixed) Purple calabash is really truly unfromly purply inside so that the fruit is about the same color as a badly healing bruise.