Chiayi farmer wins best tomato title

A Chiayi County farmer bested 94 rivals to win the title of “Master Grower” at the Tainan District Agricultural Research and Extension Station’s 10th cherry tomato competition on Wednesday last week.

Minsyong Township’s (民雄) Hsu Li-chen (徐立晨) won in a smaller competition than in previous years due to a harvest restricted by a relatively warm autumn.

However, station director Yang Hung-ying (楊宏瑛) said that the participants in the general competition represented the best of their regions.

They were all still able to produce quality harvests, achieving an average sugar level of 10.1 degrees Brix (°Bx), or 10.1g of sugar in 100g of fruit, she said.

For comparison, a 2011 Ohio State University study showed that cherry tomatoes had an average rating of 7.5°Bx, ranging from 4.5°Bx to 11.7°Bx.

To be considered for the competition, the tomatoes must have organic, production and traceability certification, and pass a pesticide residue test.

Only the best-quality tomatoes are able to pass this rigorous process, Yang said, after which they are evaluated by five judges from industry, government and academia.

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