Tomatoes… People either love them or hate them, but since you’re here reading this, we think you’re probably in the first camp. It’s hard to explain our fascination with these titans of the summer garden, but one thing we do know is that we always look forward to finding the biggest, weirdest or coolest looking one at the market. So we wanted to learn more about them to share with you. After all, who doesn’t need some tomato trivia on hand for their next party or family gathering?
1 | Botanically, a tomato is a fruit because it develops from a flower and contains seeds. However, the U.S. Supreme court ruled in 1893 that it should be considered a vegetable due to its culinary uses. And, on the side of nutritionists, it is considered a vegetable as well. So, long story short, it is a fruit that is considered a vegetable.
2 | The largest tomato on record is 10 lb. 12.7 oz. grown by Dan Sutherland in Walla Walla, Washington.
3 | Tomatoes used to be considered poisonous, but not only because they’re part of the misunderstood nightshade family. In 1800s European aristocrats ate off of pewter plates that contained lead. The acidity of tomatoes absorbed the toxicity and thus they were believed to be poisonous when they weren’t eaten from these plates. (This is also why people threw tomatoes at bad actors in ancient theatres!
4 | On the last Wednesday of every August, a tomato fight called La Tomatina is held in Buñol, Spain where 20,000 people throw tomatoes at each other.
5 | As part of NASA funding, scientists are modifying the tomato plant to speed up photosynthesis, which will help the plants grow faster in space and also replace carbon dioxide in the space station with breathable air.
6 | Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that is good for the heart and effective against certain cancers. Tomatoes are also packed with vitamins A and C, calcium and potassium.
7 | According to the USDA, Americans eat 22-24 pounds of tomatoes per person, per year and roughly half of that comes in the form of ketchup and tomato sauce.
8 | Tomatoes originally came from Peru, where their Aztec name translated to “plump thing with a navel,” but the scientific name for the tomato is Lycopersicon lycopersicum, which means, “wolf peach.”
9 | Tomato Juice is the official state drink of Ohio.
10 | There are over 10,000 varieties of tomatoes that come in a variety of different colors, including pink, purple, black, yellow and white.
We don’t quite have over 10,000 varieties to taste at the farmers’ market, but we do have over 2 dozen local grown and freshly picked varieties. Join us Saturday, August 13, 9am-12pm at 4040 Riverview Road in Peninsula for our Annual Tomato Tasting where you can taste all the varieties to discover your favorites. We will also have several special tomato focused activities to enjoy. We hope to see you there!