|Perkins Veazie, Penelope|
Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2008
Publication Date: 6/2/2008
Citation: Roberts, W., Perkins Veazie, P.M., Taylor, M., Shrefler, J. 2008. Bite-sized tomatoes: Cultivars and quality for a farm-to-school lunch program [abstract]. HortScience. 43(3):629. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: An epidemic is occurring in the United States. Adults and children are becoming increasing obese, and the incidence of diabetes is becoming more common even among school children. The type of foods eaten by children is one of the causes for obesity and diabetes. Fresh fruits and vegetables would offer high levels of nutrients but low levels of fats and calories to children. A Farm-to-School program has been developed to facilitate interactions and sales directly between farmers and school cafeteria workers. Fresh fruits and vegetables are items that are currently being sold by farmers in this program. An ideal vegetable would be one that was easily harvested, easily cleaned, did not require special storage facilities, did not require cutting, slicing, peeling, coring, or cooking, did not produce waste within the school cafeteria, and tasted good. We selected small tomatoes as one crop that fit all of those categories. We grouped cherry tomatoes, plum tomatoes, pear tomatoes, and grape tomatoes into a category that we called 'bite-sized' tomatoes. During 2007, we grew 90 cultivars of bite-sized tomatoes, including representatives of all four shape designations previously listed. We included red, yellow, and green/brown cultivars within the test. Yields were about 0.5 to 2.0 lb per plant, which was less than anticipated. Prolonged periods of rainfall during the growing season probably limited pollination and yield. Lycopene of several cultivars was greater than lOO mg/kg. Soluble solids of many cultivars were greater than 7%. Brown tomatoes had a taste that was favorable to many consumers. Pear tomatoes tended to crack more than did the round or oblong cultivars.