A scientist who spent years developing the new perfect tomato says that he’s has zero interest from any of the major supermarkets even though his creation resists many of the major issues that wipe out tomatoes, produces more pound per plant than other strains and has been proven to taste better than other tomatoes.
The Garden Gem is the work of Harry Klee at the horticultural science department at the University of Florida who has grown over 400 varieties of heirloom tomatoes in his search for the perfect flavour.
Klee also spent time researching the flavour compounds in tomatoes using a machine that measures exactly what fats, nutrients, amino acids and carotenoids make up the flavour of a tomato.
The Garden Gem comes from Glee mixing two strains, the Maglia Rosa, a grape tomato with a strong flavour profile crossed with a strain called Fla. 8059 - a strain that grows very easily but lacks in flavour.
Speaking to Slate, Klee says the tomato grows perfectly, is a strong and resilient and also scores higher in taste tests than any of his other varieties but supermarkets have shown no interest in the Garden Gem because it’s not quite the size of other, less tasty varieties being sold at the moment.
The problem seems that taste is really not the driving factor when large corporations are deciding what to stock on the aisles. Klee told Slate he’s gone back to garden and is now working on a new strain that should pack great taste and compete on size.