Sunday, April 20, 2008

Kumato/Rosso Bruno

The Mysterious Kuma

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 t
ake 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
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.


Anonymous said...

Hy Terryline, this is canadamikr from tomodori.Is it a cherry?, you can pm me the answer at tomo.

Merci, elle est magnifique! Est-elle bonne au goût?

wickedlizard said...


I am growing them from the seeds scraped from the Kumato itself.

See my wee babies! :)

A.G. said...

I would LOVE to hear more about the Kumato/Rosso Bruno as time goes on. I think this is a tomato I would love to grow in my back yard, like some black-market tomato gardener.. giving friends and neighbors forbidden seeds and fruits. LOL

Tomatoaddict said...

Well, apparantly it is now being released in the U.S. under the name Kumato. But.... there are other black market items you can grow in your garden like Cuban Mojito mint or South African Peppadews. :)

Laura said...

Great to come accross your blog today tomato addict. I am especially glad to have found you as you are trying Kumatoes too. I grew 2 plants this years from seeds I saved from a tomato a bought in a market here in France labelled 'Kumato' I liked the taste of the tomato so I saved some seeds and grew it here, I also sent some to my dad in Scotland who also grew them we both got true to the original form smooth, round tomato about 6cm across with a dark brown skin and greenish shoulders. Greta taste.
I think you may be right and these are just ordinary but good black/brown tomatoes like many of the good OP varieties here in Europe. I should put up a post about them.

Earl said...

They are now selling these as "Kumato" at my local Stop&Shop in Fairfield County,Connecticut.They are even giving out whole "free sample" fruits to introduce them.I saved seeds from the sample fruits to grow in 2010 as my wife likes them.I only eat cooked 'maters myself.Does anybody have any growing tips?

Anonymous said...

I just tried a kumato and they're delicious! It tastes slightly salty so I'm wondering if salty soil is the secret "ingredient" if it's true they were bred to grow under those conditions.

Gourmetgardner said...

For those familiar with plant breeding, there are F1 hybrids, F2..., and then there are inbred lines. Kumato, and Rosso Bruno are two distinctively separate varieties. Syngenta produced Kumato, and licenses it exclusively to certain growers it selects - growers can't go to them, Syngenta goes to them, and invites them to participate in growing Kumato, where growers pay Syngenta a per pound royalty in addition to the cost of the seed, and growers must sign strict agreements, and keep inventory of all seed.

However this exclusivity is not going to last - several seed companies are hard at work developing their own competing varieties - the only edge Kumato will have is brand recognition - other varieties just can't be called kumato.

Anonymous said...

I bought some Kumato yesterday (May 21st 2010) from my regular food retailer (Coop Switzerland). I did this to try the taste, but also to document a piece of misleading consumer information (I have a collection of product labels and statements of all sorts). In this case the text on the Kumato packaging stated that it was "grown traditionally", while the price tag and rack label of the retailer stated "Hors sol" meaning hydroponics (i.e. from Southern Switzerland in Cadenazzo TI). I might be getting old, and I don't know much about usual classifications of agricultural production, but I would not place hydroponics in the 'traditional' class.
I find the fruit rather 'normal' tasting, compared to an organic tomato, and consider it to be a mere aesthetic speciality.

Live Softly said...

I really enjoyed your article - companies should not be able to own life (and especially BS about it to discourage seed-saving). Thanks again.

Dan Paquin said...

I grew the Kumato from seed in the summer 2010, Massachusetts USA. Elevation 1200 ft. I saved the seeds from the 4 pack I bought at stop and shop and planted them in spring 2010. The plants thrived and I got a bunch of good tomatoes. A mold/mildew killed off some of my others (Silver Fir Tree) but the kumato was not really effected. As of Sept 24, 2010 I have about 1 dozen almost ripe on the vine. Very firm and tasty. 2nd only to the Cherokee Purple this year in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Good Afternoon

Can I link to this post please?

Anonymous said...

It seems that the majority of people that have actually grown this variety out are thinking that it is an OP variety. I am on F3 with no variations. If you like Kumato and you have some garden space, I recommend putting a few plants in. Vigorous and productive plants with pretty, tasty fruits.

Anonymous said...

I am a researcher in tomato breeding and genetics and I may be able to clear up some of the confusion surrounding the tomato's hybrid status. Although I cannot say for sure how this tomato should truly be categorized because I don't work for the company, there is actually a distinction made in tomato breeding (and other areas of breeding) between "hybrid" and "F1 hybrid". An F1 hybrid, as was correctly stated in the post, is the first generation after crossing two different open-pollinated [inbred] lines. Saving those seeds to grow the F2 generation usually results in a big mess of variation, most or all of which is different from the F1 and thus not the same as the original tomato you bought from the store. However, a variety can simply be labeled as "hybrid" if it was ORIGINALLY derived from an F1 hybrid, then selected over many more generations (also discussed in the post) until being stabilized. So, if the variety is not specifically an "F1 hybrid", it is possible that it is both a hybrid AND a stable, open-pollinated variety. These definitions are described very well in the book Tomato by Gail Harland as well as other sources.

On another note, I grew the Kumato from seeds I saved from one I bought at the store and had the same results as everyone else; it seemed to breed true like any open-pollinated variety. Also, I think it is very interesting that the Kumato was partially derived from a species native to the Galapagos; the species mentioned in the post is the only one native to that area, and has been used before in tomato breeding, so it's likely that it is one of the Kumato's parent plants. It sounds like the company may or may not have been trying to mislead people; everything they said is true and is common terminology in tomato breeding, but in any case it has clearly not deterred people from growing them!

Tomatoaddict said...

Very interesting to hear from a geneticist. I bought seed from Europe this year for the Mini Kumato. Do you know anything on this one?

Unknown said...

i'm growing Kumato tomato plant as we speak,i grew it from the seeds of one that i ate last year from a friends garden,my plant(tree)is 4 feet 2 inches tall???don't know if thats normal or not because i cannot seem to find any growing problem is at the top of my plant the green leaves are wilting and on one of the bigger branches its ends are also wilting really bad,i don't want to over water them and i don't want to trim them because there are blossoms really close,i've cut off one that completely withered and died but i'm just going to see if the others will come back to life...does anyone know how or what to do with this tomato plant,i must say i have never grown a tomato plant that is almost as tall as i am,its crazy..but i'm so looking forward to tasting the fruit again as it was yummy last year when i first tried it,right now i have 8 tomatoes growing in 2 separate bunches,with more blossoms coming out in 2 more different places,i sure hope they grow to full maturity..but i would welcome anyone who knows how to grow these and if i should trim off the wilting leaves??thanks alot for your time :) is my email addy if you care to respond thanks!

Anonymous said...

I'm here in the USA, state of Pennsylvania, I am on my 5th generation, still producing same tomato I started with since 2010

Yuri said...

I have read that one of the parents used to create the Kumato was a GMO.

Does this then mean that kumato, being the offspring of a GM plant, is also to be considered GM?

If so then the sales of kumato are illegal in many countries. If not, then there is a massive loophole for GM companies to utilise.

Unknown said...

I am growing Kumatos Hydroponically indoors using only LED lighting. There is some debate about whether LED lights can bring tomatoes to full ripeness.

I lost my first 7 fruit (on 4 plants) to Blossum End Rot. Adjusted my nutrients and seem to have fixed the problem.

I have about 15 tomatoes, the largest is about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. I am at day 29 since the first appearance of fruit and no hint of color change.

How long does it take from when the fruit first sets to when its ripe and ready for harvest?

Also, since I have full control over the length of day, would the Kumato benefit from 18 hours of light? General hydroponics therory holds you should reduce to a 12 hour day when flowering and fruiting. This is primarily because some plants monitor lengthening and shortening days to determine when to bloom. Tomatoes don't seem to have this restriction.


Tomatoaddict said...

To my knowledge there are no GMO tomatoes. They experimented with tomatoes and inserted a snapdragon gene in a tomato but it never went to market. As far as the time to fruitation for Kumato I have 80 days.

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Esteban McGrath/Loresco Tropicaj Fruit said...

How do they do in 5 gal pots on drip?

Tomatoaddict said...

I have never grown them in pots but it's worth a try. Let me know how it goes if you do Eseban!