Just when you thought tomatoes could not get any smaller, along comes the kid-friendly tomberry. Similar in size to a blueberry, it is the tiniest tomato in the world and has recently been released in Australia.
The greenhouse company that grows the majority of Australia's tomberries north of Adelaide says it can not keep up with demand.
"I can see the consumers love this product. I can see the chefs love to use this for their dishes, so I think it's got a future," said P'Petual General Manager Henry Liu. But what is a convenient snack for consumers is proving rather inconvenient for growers. "I'm always up for a challenge, and this is definitely one of the bigger challenges," said P'Petual's head grower Andrew Potter, who has been in the tomato game for almost three decades.
The tomberry was developed in the Netherlands by crossing a very small wild tomato with modern varieties using conventional breeding techniques. "They're roughly about 25 percent higher maintenance than a traditional tomato crop," said Mr. Potter.
"It's probably the first stage of breeding for this variety, and it hasn't really been fine-tuned yet, so hopefully, in the next few years, new breeding will come through." The variety produces up to 300 tiny tomatoes on a single bunch in summer. The first challenge is getting the flowers and fruit to set quickly and evenly at the start. Then workers have to stay on top of all the shoots the plant produces as it matures.
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