Posted on 13 June 2009 by

Kumato – The Tomato That’s Always Ripe

kumatoBy Vanessa Richins

One of the hardest parts of growing tomatoes is waiting for them to ripen.

Of course, you can use green tomatoes in some recipes, a la “Fried Green Tomatoes”, but most recipes call for juicy, ripe tomatoes.

As I was zipping around Google, I came across a tomato variety called the Kumato.

Its claim to fame is that it is able to be picked and used at any stage of development.

As explains, “The Kumato…starts with a dark green skin and a mild flavor. It then turns dark brown with a sweet and spicy aroma, before finally becoming a dark red hue which is sweet and juicy. It is available in two sizes, a standard golf ball size and a mini version.”

The tomato was produced by Syngenta through standard breeding methods (no genetic engineering in THIS tomato!) which crossed our standard tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) with wild tomato types. One species from the Galapagos Islands, Lycopersicon cheesmaniae, may have been used in the breeding process. This fascinating tomato evidently has to be digested by turtles before the seeds can germinate.

The website for Kumato growers offers recipes and more. For now, the tomato appears to only be sold in Europe. We should start a petition to get Syngenta to grow the Kumato here, or at least sell the seeds. I’m very intrigued.

Have you had the pleasure of eating a Kumato? What was it like?

23 Responses to “Kumato – The Tomato That’s Always Ripe”

  1. Shibaguyz Says:

    Where on EARTH are we going to get a Galapagos turtle…

  2. Kristen Says:

    I just sent an email to the sales rep for tomatoes for this company. Hopefully I will hear back- and good news at that. Thanks for the mouthwatering blog! :0)

  3. Vanessa Richins Says:

    Oh don’t worry Shibaguyz, it’s Lycopersicon cheesmaniae that’s turtle-worthy, not the Kumato. You’re safe 😉

    And Kristen, let us know! I am sure many people would be interested in it here!

  4. jmuhj Says:

    They sound and look great. I would love to try them and grow them!

  5. our friend Ben Says:

    Interesting, Vanessa! I was just wondering if some of the cherry tomatoes might be flavorful when green and have some interesting uses in cooking (but I haven’t tried any yet). Maybe we’re all missing something!

  6. Jennifer Says:

    Intresting! So the seeds are regergitated by the turtle! WOW! Circle of life at its finiest! Wants the turtle and the Tomato! Where can we gat em? LOL.

  7. Jennifer Says:

    Went to the web site the Kumato and Blue Cheese Tart looks so Yummy!

  8. Kristen Says:

    Nessa, you are not going to believe this! This morning I got a styrofoam box from MI delivered to my mailbox. I hadn’t ordered anything, so I was curious as to what it was. My dh drove to the mail center to get it. Carefully opening it I found inside KUMATO tomatoes!!! I had been contacted by the company in England who had sent me to Mastronardi, the company here in North America growing Kumato tomatoes (I buy Campari from them). They sent me an email asking where I lived in Utah so they could determine if/ where the Kumato is being sold near me. I gave them my mailing address- and lucky thing I did!! It came with a note saying, “To hold you over until it is available at your local grocery store, please find enclosed a few sleeves of the new variety that I am sure you will enjoy.” WOW!
    My boys and I ate one just now. Very tasty! The flesh is firmer, which my kids liked better. It has a great tomato flavor & texture- not like funky pithy bland tomatoes from the grocery store. The one we ate was mostly green/brown, with hints of red. What a great treat! How does it get any better than that! Are you going to be in SLC any time soon?

  9. Vanessa Says:

    Whoa! You’re so lucky! My research only found them sold in Europe, so it’s nice to hear they’re growing here too. Wow! It’s good to hear they are tasty.
    I am stuck down in Happy Valley for now. My car is still in the shop from the accident – it will be probably at least another week + before I get it back.

  10. Kristen Says:

    Dang car! (And accident!)
    I would really love to share with you since it is because of you that I got them. The information says they are good for up to two weeks when kept in cool but not cold conditions. Maybe email me privately and see if we can’t arrange something. :0)
    Thanks, Nessa! I am so glad for your blogs, your twitter and your information! Lucky me all the way around!

  11. wintermyst Says:

    We tried these little gems yesterday! Oh they are yummy. I live in SW Ontario, Canada, the Zehr’s grocery store had them for $2.99 for one pound it was 5 tomatoes in the container.
    The do have a nice flavor and are firm without being tough or hard. Hubby went back and got us another package. I’m not trying to advertise the store, I named it just in case someone near wants to try them.

  12. Elvira Says:

    Have the Kumato in Rochester, NY since April or May. I took a few seeds, planted them on a whim and just today had my first ripe tomato. So good! Tastes better then from the store. No special work involved to get them to grow. Next year I will start earlier and it looks like it is an early variety.

  13. nancy freeman Says:

    if you are near a wegmans they sell kumatoes they are fantastic great flavor low acidity…. going to try planting my own this year

  14. Memphisdog Says:

    Went to Sams in Memphis, TN there they are selling Kumato
    If I grow from the seeds will they be the same
    They are heirloom I think?

  15. jasmin Says:

    i tried a kumato and the guy at the store said that they were really juicy, so i bought them when i got home i cut into the beautiful shade of reddish/greeish/brown and sliced downwards onto my cutting board, the juice came flowing not when i cut the delicious fruit, but when i bit into its sweet goodness. the kumato is number 1 on my list of delicious fruits and veggies. 🙂 i <3 kumato!

  16. Kurt Says:

    Bought some Kumatos in 2010 here in Miami.My wife saved the seeds by seiving them and drying them out on parchment paper.Started them in seedlings.Transplanted them to containers in Nov.They took off like a bandit.They are dark green plants with serrated leaves.Planted only 5 plants.Cant tell if they are determinate or indeterminate.Got clusters of 4-6/plant.About 20-30, 2-3 inch fruits/plant.Very sweet and tastes like a red wine mixed with fruit.Tallest plant came in at 8 ft.Will devote 20-30 plants in 2011.Right now the heat is in and I had to strip the leaves but the remaining fruit are still ripening.Mind you these plants are almost 6 months old.They ripen like cherrys from bottom but have the vine characters like the round maters.Very impressed.A keeper for me.Saved the seeds from this batch,and I know 2011 will be a banner year.P.S. I used Algoflash tomato fertilizer for the first time this year,my cheerys grew to almost 15-20 foot,this stuff is the bomb!

  17. johndaddy Says:

    Kumatos are available at Wegman’s Supermarkets. This is a family owned chain of stores based in Rochester NY. They’re one of the top companies to work for in America year after year. If you’re lucky enough to live in the area they serve, you can find lotsa great stuff like Kumatos, which, by the way, are wonderful!

  18. Toney Chaney Says:

    I use to buy Kunato from the whole food stores here in the Denver, Colorado but it seems they no longer carry them so I am trying to find some other place to buy them, Anyone know of some place close or in Colorado that sells them?

  19. Gina Robinson Says:

    They sell them here in Atlanta at Whole Foods, I just bought some this weekend and going to cook them for appetizers tomorrow!

  20. kurt Says:

    Just for the folks that are buying the Kumatos,see now the Kumatos we get now come from Mexican farms.Big difference from the Canadian saved seeds I got.Growing them out this year again.

  21. Karry Says:

    No matter if some one searches for his necessary thing, therefore he/she wishes to be available that in detail, so that thing is maintained over here.

  22. Toney Chaney Says:

    You can purchase the Komato at Whole Foods.

  23. Joy Salvador Says:

    Kumatos are sold at SAMs club in Mooresville NC. I am addicted to them, they are Soo tasty. I would love to be able to grow them organically if anyone can help me find seeds or plants I would be very grateful.

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