Sunday, April 20, 2008
The Mysterious Kumato
Known as the Kumato in Europe and called Rosso Bruno in Canada. (I have no idea why the company changed the name for Canadians).
As with all new varieties, questions abound and curiosity gets us tomato growers. Much mis-information is floating around the internet about this one.
The company that circulates it in North America, Dulcinea, says it is a hybrid (a cross of two known or unknown tomatoes, first generation)
The distributor states that it is not a GMO (Genetically modified Organism) which is a plus.
The seeds are not available for gardeners, only the fruit. Which means that if you save the seeds and plant them out, it would take approximately 7 generations to stabilize it for conisistancy.
The company that owns the rights to the Kumato, Syngenta Seeds Europe, has itself put out some mis-information on it's own product. They state that the tomato is from the Galapagos Islands. Hmmmmm, that might be only half true.
"Kumato Tomatoes are described as black, but they are actually more of a dark brown. It developed over six years by Damien Flores, a Spanish grower in Aguilas, southern Spain (100 km from Murcia) for by Syngenta Seeds Europe. The company was looking for a tomato that would grow in salty soil. According to marketers' press releases, the tomato was developed from a variety from the Galapagos Islands. However, there are actually no black tomatoes in the Galapagos Islands. Syngenta may have used some tomatoes from the Galapagos, which are "Lycopersicon cheesmanii", in the cross-breeding it did, but those tomatoes are not black -- the black actually comes from tomatoes that have been in Europe for hundreds of years, through selection. Kumato is seed not available on retail market to home gardeners, only to commercial producers, and Syngenta has said it will not be released to the public. "
I have even heard speculation from growers that are stabilizing it for home gardeners that they think it might not be a Hybrid at all.Possibly that Syngenta put out the hybrid bit as a ruse to keep gardeners from growing and saving the seed. Protecting their investment.
One of my gardening friends in Canada has grown it for 4 seasons and has reported that it is true to the F1 every year. No variations.
That would indicate that it is indeed an open pollinated variety and not a hybrid. You would expect some variations in fruit size and color every year from hybrid seed.
The Kumato is reportadly very sweet and edible at 3 different stages.
This year, my French peeps and myself have started "Operation Kumato". We are all growing plants from the seeds to compare results.
If we all obtain the same results, it would indicate it is an OP.It will be interesting. Stay tuned for results.
Posted by Tomatoaddict at 7:37 AM