Ok, I need a consensus, if tomato traits have been engineered for pest and disease resistance, is it also possible to have varieties which have a longer 'shelf life' ? Reason I am asking is because as a driver the speed that a tomato ripens or stays green is a simple 1* on the reefer setting, but so many of thes tomatoes I am hearing abt are maturing really slow in spite of the high heats right now? One of my friends got tired of waiting on his Jetstars to ripen and fried em green. Says the taste was great - really great! But why wouldn't they turn red? And I wondered if breeding for a better - longer marketing tomato was possible.
Yes, it is very possible. UC Davis is famous for breeding an indestructible tomato that all ripen at the same time and harvested by a machine that throws them in to open semi trailers. Apples have been bred with skins so tough they will not bruise and even sharp teeth have trouble biting into them. Farm papers often discuss "Shipping traits" and Shelf Life, which is the reason so much fruit is inedible. Seldom do you hear anything about tenderness or flavor.
That is the basic reason i am learning late in life how to grow a tender good tasting tomato, which were the only kind before the Engineers took over.
If the plants (not seeds, mind you) we are picking up as sets from feed stores, hardware stores, nurseries, etc are these plants, I wonder how we would know, and Heirloom doesn't always mean before engineering to ship and store...
and Heirloom doesn't always mean before engineering to ship and store...
I'm not exactly sure what you mean by the above, but if it means what I think it means, It does to me.
When talking about heirloom tomatoes, one could be talking about family heirlooms, about ones that are commercial varieties that were bred before 1940 and I don't know of one of them that has been genetically engineered, actually there aren't any.
Several years there was one that was introduced, not an heirloom, that had a fish gene inserted that supposedly gave it a long shelf life and another one bred that I called SummerSpringWinterFall, I forget its real name but I called it that b'c after harvesting it just never was edible, sat there are the counter for several months, didn't shrivel, didn't do anything. LOL
But there is a category of tomnatoes called longkeeper types and here's a list of some of the them from Tania's excellent tomato base. The one that starts with a Z is usually known as Giraffe, I'm sure she included that alternative name, and I didn't think it was all bad.
My own opinion about long shelf life varieties, excluding the many varieties bred for stores that are rock hard and tasteless,, ugghh, is that for everything there really is a season so I like to eat what's in season so when my tomatoes go down that's it for me, although I will buy some grape tomatoes, usually Santa Sweets since I know about them, and that's that.
Carolyn, btw, you used the word "engineering" above to speak to diseases tolerances in general, but most folks would interpret that as referring to GMO's or genetically modified tomatoes, which they aren't. A GMO is a tomato that has been altered by insertion of a gene other than a tomato gene, which would refer to the blue tomato developed in England where a snapdragon gene has been inserted, or even the fish gene I mentioned above.
I believe we were using "engineering" in a broader sense than just "Genetic Engineering", as a lot of the good shipping qualities, or other changes that benefit the growers and shippers more than the consumer, are done more by breeding and selection than by actually altering the genes.
I should have used Plant Scientist or Plant Breeder, instead of engineers, in my comment.
But, with so many commercial growers producing Heirloom plants, i am sure they select seeds of whatever variety they propagate, from their fastest growing most profitable plants, and who is to say those stronger plants do not produce a stronger skin, or a stronger flavor, or staying green longer, or whatever? I see many comments regarding how the Heirloom varieties give different results from grower to grower or year to year. So i would suspect there are many differences in plants with the same name.
And Carolyn is undoubtedly correct in saying that they are probably not Genetically Engineered, as she is by far the most knowledgeable person about tomatoes.
Mine to start with for lack of a better term, broad sense answers tend to confirm a suspicion I was getting. And OMG fish gene? Shake head, long name for a paperweight tomato- I like it. Thanx for the link, I will check it out.