The advances in breeding processing tomatoes reflect both grower and food processor needs. The criteria, of course, differ substantially from tomatoes intended for the fresh market.
Disease resistance, machine-harvesting ease, a highly concentrated set and high yields appeal to growers. Food processors require high soluble solids, peelability and a viscosity desirable for their final product. Both growers and processors appreciate uniform, firm fruit that holds well in the field. Early maturity that can extend the season can add to a cultivar’s attraction. Recently, taste has become even more important.
Higher lycopene, typically expressed as deeper red coloration, enhances the products. Researchers have found that cooking tomatoes boosts the amount of lycopene absorbed by the body. The data on this healthful attribute give processed tomato products an advantage.
California produces 95 percent of U. S. processing tomatoes and contributes about half of global production.
The following new or nearly new varieties available to us by press time illustrate numerous improvements in processing tomatoes.
HeinzSeed strives for taste, thickness, high yields, high soluble solids, earliness and peelability for its consumer product uses. Its varieties that are adapted to conditions in Canada also perform well in the Midwestern United States. At a very early 90 days, H2206 features uniform, 62-gram, round, blocky fruit with 5.2 Brix. It can be direct-seeded or transplanted, and has very high fruit-setting ability even under hot conditions. This jointless tomato for paste or product use adapts to growing conditions in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Australia and New Zealand, as well as California and Ontario. Its small, compact, prostrate vines resist both verticillium and fusarium. Its field holding ability keeps it usable for one or two weeks even if the skin splits around the stem.
H2306 produces medium-viscosity, oval, smooth fruit weighing 68 grams in 103 days. The 4.9-Brix, uniform fruit appeals to the peel/dice processors. Resistant to verticillium and races 1 and 2 of fusarium, H2306 also has some tolerance to bacterial spot. Its healthy, medium, prostrate vines have excellent foliage cover. This Heinz variety holds well in the field and can be grown in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Europe.
Full-season H3406 produces high yields of uniform, smooth, oval fruit with 5 Brix. Its large vine provides excellent foliage cover. Bred for the peel and product applications, its low-viscosity fruit weighs 70 grams. H3406 has excellent tolerance to bacterial canker and some tolerance to bacterial spot; it also resists early blight, verticillium and fusarium. Developed by Heinz, its regional adaptability includes Canada, the Midwestern United States, New Zealand, Australia and Europe.
At 84 grams and with an elongated square shape, HeinzSeed’s H2005 features 5.6 Brix. Its large, prostrate vine produces excellent foliage cover, resulting in very little sunburned fruit. Bred for the full season, its uniform, high-solids fruit has medium viscosity for the peel/dice market. While not for extended field storage, it holds better than average. This variety, for California and South American regions, resists verticillium, races 1 and 2 of fusarium, nematodes and bacterial speck.
H9205 produces second-early, blocky oval tomatoes for paste, crush, peel and dice uses. Its medium vines have acceptable cover. This 5-Brix, 64-gram HeinzSeed cultivar with excellent setting ability was developed for the Canadian, European, Asian and South American regions. It resists verticillium, fusarium races 1 and 2, nematodes, bacterial speck, bacterial wilt and tomato yellow leaf curl virus.
Nunhems breeds processing tomatoes globally. Nunhems USA’s newest varieties for California include N 6385 with tomato spotted wilt resistance. This cultivar measures 12.7 on the Bostwick scale, with a predicted paste Bostwick measure of 2.8. Its fruit weighs 85 grams, with 4.82 Brix and 4.5 pH.
N 6390, developed for California, Chile and Australia by Nunhems, consistently produces 90.1-gram fruit with Brix numbers above the industry standard—5.8. Its Bostwick test is 14.2, with 5.1 predicted for the paste measure. The pH is 4.5.
Nunhems reports that its Sun 6366 is a high-solids, full-season peeler successful with canneries. With excellent yields, its 84.8-gram fruit features 5.45 Brix, with a pH of 4.5. Its 15.6 Bostwick score is 5.2 in the predicted paste test.
Sun 6368, with extended field holding ability, has high solids and potentially good peeling quality. With excellent yields, it can be harvested mid-late and has nematode resistance. This Nunhems variety performs well in Chile and Australia as well as California. It measures 14.8 on the Bostwick test; 4.7 when predicting the paste scale. The 5.37-Brix, 86.8-gram fruit has a pH of 4.5.
Orsetti Seeds’ newest varieties complement one of its industry standards, Halley 3155. At 108 to 110 days, BOS 66509 is a first-early variety with high yields of uniform fruit, an attractive vine, good cover and wide adaptability. Its blocky, round, firm, thick-walled fruit averages 75 grams. It has shown good holding ability, and its soluble solids measure 5 to 5.1. Jointless, it has low stem retention. Its earliness makes it an excellent choice for season-opening peeling/dicing and medium-viscosity paste production. Moreover, it has resistance/tolerance to verticillium, fusarium races 1 and 2, nematodes and bacterial speck. This cultivar performs well internationally and in California.
Pear-shaped BOS 67212 features 5.1 to 5.3 solids, medium viscosity and excellent recovery. Mid season at 122 days, this prolific Orsetti variety has a medium-sized plant with strongly arthritic pedicels, low stem retention and good foliage cover. The thick-walled fruits are exceptionally firm. Its resistance/tolerance also includes verticillium, fusarium races 1 and 2, nematodes and bacterial speck.
United Genetics’ new varieties for California production feature high yields. UG-4305 produces 83 to 84-gram, firm fruit with good field storage. Its multiple uses include paste and dicing, with 13 in the Bostwick juice test. This 120-day, mid season cultivar can produce 55 to 65 tons per acre. It resists verticillium, fusarium races 1 and 2 and nematodes.
UG-19306, a full-season variety at 127 to 128 days, has high viscosity, measuring 11 in the Bostwick test. United Genetics’ 5.5 to 5.6-Brix, firm, 85-gram processing tomato can be used for paste and dicing. In addition, it yields 53 to 63 tons per acre and has extended field storage ability. Resistance includes verticillium, races 1 and 2 of fusarium, nematodes and bacterial spot.
Full-season UG-19406 features a high Brix of 5.8, plus a viscosity rating of 11.5 on the Bostwick scale. Maturing in 125 days, this United Genetics paste and dicing variety weighs 80 grams and has excellent field storage ability. Plus, it yields 55 to 65 tons per acre and also has resistance to verticillium, fusarium races 1 and 2, nematodes and bacterial spot.
While Campbell has not released new varieties this season, varieties under development are bred for competitive yields, earliness, harvesting ease, extended field storage, high solids and viscosity, low acid, peeling and dicing capability and high red color. Enhanced disease resistance priorities include tomato yellow leaf curl virus, tomato spotted wilt virus, bacterial spot, fusarium race 3, late blight and verticillium race 2.
The author is a writer-researcher specializing in agriculture. She currently lives in central Pennsylvania.