GENEVA — Most people are jaded about green tomatoes, which are considered unripe and unsavory unless they’re fried.
But a new, flavorful and highly productive cherry tomato — that ripens green — promises to be the envy of tomato growers this spring.
The new variety, dubbed Jaded, was developed by Phillip Griffiths, associate professor of horticulture at Cornell Agritech. He bred it from four heirloom tomato varieties. The green cherry is on sale now through local organic seed company Fruition Seeds.
With a smooth and tropical flavor, Jaded’s skin becomes translucent like a gooseberry and adopts a golden hue when ripe, signaling it’s ready to pick.
“Challenges [in breeding a green tomato] came in knowing when it was ripe,” Griffiths said, “but also the perception of people to green as a color in tomato, because when people think of sweeter types of products, then green doesn’t necessarily come to mind.”
Griffiths began working with the improvement of heirloom varieties in 2005. At the time most vegetable breeding programs were more focused on varieties with disease resistance and higher yields.
Meanwhile, consumers were starting to have more influence in food markets through buying power, as they sought different colors, new flavors and more fun varieties.
Green also adds a different hue to cherry tomato medley mixes.
“A lot of the small-fruited medley mixes that you see when you go to stores or weekend farmer’s markets, tend to be focused on the yellow, orange and red colors, maybe some striped types, maybe purple,” Griffiths said. “When you start to get colors like green in there, that can really complement the other colors.”
The variety has been a perennial favorite among people who work in Griffiths’ program. While there are a few other types of green tomatoes on the market, they may not be up to Jaded’s standard.
“It’s an attractive looking green tomato,” Griffiths said, “and one that is I think, an improvement over anything that’s currently out there.”