Kumato is a gorgeously sweet brownish toned tomato that we’ve enjoyed on several occasions, while celebrating it’s juicy bursts of rich flavor. They are as sweet as summer melon and very sexy in their appearance. I was thrilled to have found them. It wasn’t until now, that I decided to post about these little fruity gems that we learned a bit more about their origin. The information we found added an unexpected twist, something that has made me take pause. As it happens, Kumatoes are “owned” by Syngenta, a company that holds exclusive rights to the seeds and will not make them available to the general public. The tomatoes are grown only through Syngenta selected growers, who pay for the privilege to have the seeds. Hmm.
After some further digging, we also could not determine if they are grown organically. They may be, but it is not clearly stated anywhere, only information about meeting health standards, but it is not readily evident what those standards are. Hmmm.
Here is some information excerpted from the Kumato site, owned by Syngenta, where they share about their juicy variety.
The quality of Kumato® begins in the field, where growers specially selected by Syngenta tend the fruits using traditional techniques and natural methods. The Kumato® ripens from the inside outwards, always on the plant, and so its colour changes naturally from dark brown to golden green. The fruits it produces are juicy and firm, with high levels of fructose.
A tiny bit of digging here, and I mean tiny, brought forth this information from Wikipedia. In general terms, the Syngenta Kumato site validates the Wikipedia information below. We need to do some more investigating together and see what unfolds.
The Kumato is a trade name given to the variety of tomato developed in Spain called “Olmeca”, which went by experimental number SX 387 (what?). It is grown in Spain, France, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Canada and Mexico by specially selected growers.
Unlike other tomato varieties, seeds cannot be purchased by the general public. Syngenta has stated that they will never make Kumato seeds available to the general public as the Kumato tomato is grown under a concept known as a club variety, whereby Syngenta sells seeds only to licensed growers that go through a rigorous selection process, and participation is by invitation only. (Seriously? Are we still talking about tomatoes?)
So, I’m sharing with all of you to help shed more light on this strange, probably not all that unique situation. Does it seem odd to you? What do you think? I thought that they were such a beautiful find at the store and am still bedazzled by their flavor, but this information left me feeling disappointed and saddened that we can’t just see a gorgeous piece of produce in the store and not wonder if we need a private investigator to find out its origins. It certainly made me more grateful for my own heirloom tomatoes in the backyard to mature and ripen because I knew where those came from.
Please share your thoughts, I look forward to hearing from you.
Have a delicious weekend.