You say tomato, we say Garden Gem.
What if we told you you could always have the perfect tomato? You’d probably call us caprese. But one man’s mission to make this juicy dream a reality resulted in the creation of the Garden Gem, a better-tasting tomato that’s both sizable and sturdy.
In the early 1990s, Dr. Harry Klee, a professor of horticultural sciences at the University of Florida, began to notice that tomatoes didn’t taste as good as they used to. The problem was that farmers, paid for their crop by the pound, were sacrificing sweetness for size. They had figured out how to make the tomato grow big and fast, but not how to retain its natural sweet taste as it grew. And this is what Dr. Klee spent the next 20 years trying to figure out.
(Of course, taste is a subjective sense—what’s delicious to some may be disgusting to others—but generally speaking people like their tomatoes sweet.)
Klee grew over 400 varieties of tomato and had them all taste-tested by hundreds of volunteers. His idea was to analyze the chemical make-up of a tasty tomato and naturally breed it with one that grows splendidly. (Dr. Klee knew, being a professor and all, that it would be much quicker to achieve this goal through genetic engineering, but he also knew that this would put people off eating it.)
After nearly two decades of dedicated trial and error, Klee plucked a tomato in 2011 that he knew immediately marked the end of his search. By crossing his best-tasting tomato, the Maglia Rose—a grape tomato that’s difficult to grow but tastes divine—with a super grower with a watery taste, the unimaginatively named Fla. 8059, Klee had created the Garden Gem, or as we like to think of it, the perfect non-GMO tomato.
In order to bring our customers the Garden Gem, we’ve partnered with our friends at the Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, who are growing these tomatoes organically exclusively for us for the local season.
Add some Garden Gems to your basket here.