Extra Long-Lasting Tomatoes Could Be Available Soon
If you ask me, one of the very best parts of summer is the tomatoes. Sliced up in a caprese salad, layered on a BLT, or just popped, one-by-one, right off the vine, the red, juicy fruits taste like the season itself. While their ephermerality makes them that much sweeter, I'll admit to feeling some bitter disappointment from October to June, knowing that the good tomatoes are still a long time away.
But all of that could change soon. In a press release, Arcadia Biosciences, Inc., a food ingredient company, and Shriram Bioseed, a research and hybrid seed development company, announced that they had made major strides in developing Extended Shelf Life (or ESL) tomatoes.
According to the press release, in the U.S. alone, $2.3 billion worth of tomatoes are wasted every year. And in Asia, 20-35% of tomatoes are thrown away due to damage right after picking. Arcadia "identified genetic variations that allow tomatoes to fully ripen on the vine, yet still remain durable enough to survive the packing and shipping process." That means more tomatoes get to us, and farmers and suppliers don't lose as much money.
Interestingly, we have the U.S. Department of Defense to thank in part for all these forthcoming fresh tomatoes. Arcadia's technology was developed under a contract with the D.O.D. in an effort to get fresher food to remotely-stationed troops.
If all goes well, we can expect extended shelf life tomatoes to launch in 2019. Till then, I'll be over here, eating tomato sandwiches for every meal till the end of our current tomato season.