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Rutgers 250 Tomato

rutgers 250

Tomato, tomahto – right? Wrong.  Meet the Rutgers 250 tomato – the tomato of your dreams.

Not all tomatoes are born equal, and the Rutgers 250 has a lot to live up to. Legend has it that the Jersey or Rutgers tomato is the king of all tomatoes.  The first Rutgers tomato debuted in 1934 as the result of a collaboration between the Campbell Soup Co. and the University.  New Jersey is famous for their tomatoes – it’s the official state vegetable – and in the 1960s the Jersey Tomato reigned as the jewel of the region, used in Campbell’s soup, Heinz ketchup, and Hunt’s canned goods.But because the Depression-era Jersey wasn’t patented, commercial seed distributors tinkered with it over the years, and trends in industrial farming and commercial shipping compelled agriculturalists to cultivate foods that could be shipped long distances.

Thankfully, the plant breeders at Rutgers University have led a horticultural pilgrimage to resurrect the Jersey Tomato genetically and reproduce the juicy, sweet taste that stole the hearts of millions. Combining the nostalgia-inducing flavor of an heirloom with the durability of supermarket varieties, the Rutgers 250 answers the question of what the hell happened to flavourful tomatoes.

The Rutgers 250 is named in honor of the school’s 250th anniversary and was bred using seeds that traced back to the famous Jersey tomato.  According to the breeders at Rutgers,  these tomatoes are the stuff of your childhood memories:  sweet,  firm and smelling (almost) as good as they taste.

While the tomatoes grown at the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station are meant to be grown and be eaten locally, the breeders are hard at work developing the Rutgers 250 that will be suitable for large-scale commercial farmers. It should be ready by 2018.  Home gardeners interested in finding tomato heaven can click here.

Don’t forget the salt shaker.