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March 4, 2008  By Fruit & Vegetable


Top 10 heirloom tomato varieties announced for 2008 Black tomatoes are gaining popularity



Top 10 heirloom tomato varieties announced for 2008 Black tomatoes are gaining popularity

Black-coloured tomatoes are stealing the show among heirloom tomato vari-eties, according to a top 10 list recently released by TomatoFest® Garden Seeds, an online organic heirloom tomato seed retailer.

“It’s not just red and pink tomatoes … on the top 10 list anymore,” said Gary Ibsen, owner of TomatoFest. He also grows 600 varieties of certified organic, heirloom tomatoes on his farm in California.

“The purple/black-coloured heirloom tomatoes continue to rise in popularity at produce markets, with restaurant chefs, and with home gardeners for the fifth year in a row,” says Ibsen. “Black tomatoes are fast becoming the new red tomato. They’re the Cinderellas of the produce market.”


New spud storage test

A scientist from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the U.S. has developed a test to help growers identify good storage quality potatoes while still in the field.

Zahi Atallah developed the test, which involves collecting healthy-looking tubers from the field before harvest, cleaning and juicing them, and then extracting their genetic material.

Using a technique known as polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, a technician can look at the DNA contained in each sample and detect foreign microbial agents that cause storage losses, including late blight, pink rot and fusarium.

New method detects fraud in organically grown produce

As organic farming becomes more common, methods to identify fraud in the industry are increasingly important.

In a recent study reported in the Journal of Environmental Quality, scientists in Spain successfully use nitrogen isotopic discrimination to determine if non-organic, synthetic fertilizers were used on sweet pepper plants.

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