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item Baldwin, Elizabeth - Liz

Submitted to: Tomato Quality Workshop Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/15/2006
Publication Date: 5/8/2006
Citation: Scott, J.W., Baldwin, E. 2006. 'Flora-Lee': a field tomato for the premium tomato market. Tomato Quality Workshop Proceedings. Paper No. 17.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Over the last 10 years much of the supermarket tomato trade has shifted from field grown tomatoes to greenhouse grown tomatoes. The tomatoes on the vine (TOV) or hydroponic tomatoes with calyx attached grown in greenhouses have attained considerable shelf space and are often sold for significantly higher prices than are field tomatoes. The reason for this is a perceived improvement in fruit quality of freshness often due to appearance of the product. There has also been an increase in specialty tomatoes on the shelves that are sometimes field grown. An example would be the grape tomatoes that are popular because of their sweet flavor. Florida tomatoes and other field grown tomatoes are primarily bought by the food service industry. 'Flora-Lee', tested as Fla. 8153, is being considered for a release in the near future as a cultivar for growers of field tomatoes to regain an increased share of the supermarket trade. This is a crimson (ogc) hybrid with approximately 25% more lycopene than standard cultivars. Thus, it can be sold as a more healthful tomato. The interior color is a deeper red than standard tomatoes making for an attractive fruit likely to be popular with consumers. 'Flora-Lee' has been tested in six sensory panels over six seasons, and has been rated in the most preferred (P>0.1) over commercial cultivars like 'Florida 47'. It has twice been compared to store bought TOV cultivars and three times been compared store bought tomatoes of the cultivar sold as "Ugly Ripe", and in each case was significantly preferred. The strength of 'Flora-Lee' from a flavor standpoint is that it tastes good under a range of environmental conditions. This should provide tomatoes that are consistently high quality and, therefore can be branded to attract repeat customers. Flavor ranges from good but mild to excellent with a "clean tomato" balance of sweetness and acidity. To avoid immature harvest, it will be recommended that 'Flora-Lee' be picked at the breaker stage or beyond. Numerous trials on University and grower farms indicate 'Flora-Lee' reliable sets firm, marketable fruit on a medium sized but strong vine. Fruit size has a range from 5 x 6 to 6 x 7 but with less 5 x 6 fruit than cultivars typically grown in Florida. The cultivar does get some graywall, which may reduce marketable yields under some conditions. 'Flora-Lee' has a jointed pedicel. It is resistant to Fusarium wilt races 1, 2, and 3, Verticillium wilt race 1, and gray leafspot. Implications as to the myriad of factors that may affect the impact of this release will be discussed.