japanese tomato

manure_queen(md 7)May 12, 2008

Just returned from Japan and bought the most unusual tomato at the market. It is squatty round and comes to a sharp point at the bottom. The seeds are really tiny. Any clues to what it might be called?? Shape is sort of like the domes on Orthodox churches


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Mary, I also just came back from my yearly trip to Japan. I grew up there. Don't know what variety that is,as they have so many different kinds depending on which market you go to, and what city, etc. They are not really into heirlooms yet, so it is most likely a hybrid. I went to several places to look for different seeds, and most were hybrid.
If you brought some back, why don't you try to grow it and see what comes up? Sounds interesting.
I ate a variety from a supermarket that did not get soft or ripen anymore than it already was, for over 10 days at room temperature! It was weird! Very ripe, very firm, very red and good, but they just sat there for days without any change. I don't know for how long they could've stayed liked that, as I ate them before I could test them.Here, I have a tom out for 2 days and I either have to eat it or refrigerate it unless it was picked unripe.


    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 6:48PM
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just an fyi....in Houston we have a giant grocery store called Hong Kong market and they carry seeds from the Orient ( like long beans, bok choi, etc)

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 9:41PM
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douglas14(z3/4 MN)

Are they small, like a large cherry tomato? If so, they could be the Tomatoberry hybrid. I think they were bred in Japan. The shape sound similar.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2008 at 11:13PM
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manure_queen(md 7)

Not a cherry, but medium sized fruit.
I did save seeds, hopefully they will germinate and I can see if a hybrid or not.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 7:16PM
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What Mary describes is ÂgFirstÂh variety of Japanese tomatoes. Usually they are called Âgfruit tomatoesÂh at grocery shops and are very expensive. Decent fruit tomato will cost around $2.00 or more each.

First Tomatoes have been around Japan for over 50 years. Story has it that it was first imported via Kobe from British seed merchant called ÂgHearst-Gundst-CooperdriverÂh and agriculture authority in Aichi prefecture, that central Japan where HQ of Toyota is located, grew them for ages.

Then about 10 years ago, a maverick farmer named Nagata pioneered a new way of producing intense flavor and sweet tasting tomatoes based on the First variety. He used very tightly controlled drip irrigation with very poor soil condition and very little fertilizer. Those wine lovers will recognize this method as similar to that of grape growing. Nagata method also requires high degree of pruning and fruit reduction. This means growing Nagata tomatoes, very labor intensive and thus, the high price. When it was introduced to the market, one tomato cost around $5.00-. Now, many regional faming authorities have adopted this method and improved upon them. Seeds that they use are special to each collective and not sold commercially.

First variety tomatoes are mid sized around 5cm in diameter. They are flat and often with a pointed tail, though some variety of First do not have the point. When produced with Nagata method, they have concentrated intense tomato flavor that is close to tomato ketchup and very sweet. Typically, they would have around 9 briks or more.

There are three commercial varieties of First Tomatoes seeds available in Japan, ÂgSuper FirstÂh, ÂgLady FirstÂh and ÂgFirst PowerÂh.

This year, I am using a saved seed to grow my own First Tomatoes. Unfortunately, I will not be able to emulate the Nagata method but I will keep you posted.

Link is to my Tomato Blog in Japan, if anyone in interested.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tom Sato's Tomato blog

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 5:37AM
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Tom, I enjoyed looking at your tomatoes. My favorite tomato is Momotaro. I have grown many heirlooms and hybrids but it is still my favorite. I love the flavor and it's 'firm' skin. Great yield and very robust plant to boot. I will have to try Sunlord one day as you say you liked it better than Momotaro.

Tomato Growers Supply COmpany says Momo. is the number one hybrid in Japan. Wondering if this is still true?

Manure queen (Mary) -- how was the flavor of the tomato you are trying to ID?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 9:27AM
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