The Amela tomato (which means "sweetness" in a Japanese dialect) is an authentic gourmet tomato that has a high level of sweetness thanks to its Brix degrees, smoothness, and slight acidity. It is one of the most sophisticated tomatoes in Japan, and its flavor is reminiscent of fresh fruit. Not surprisingly, its price ranges from around 18 euros/kg in origin to more than 30 euros in shops.
The Amela tomato has conquered the Japanese market from a corner of the Granada coast. Specifically from Carchuna, where the La Palma Cooperative is a benchmark in the production and export of vegetables.
The production of Amela began in Japan almost 25 years ago, after many experiments to get the "perfect" flavor. Its creators decided to seek an alliance with Spanish producers to cultivate it in Spain to take advantage of the benefits of the Mediterranean climate.
That's how they achieved an agreement with Cooperativa La Palma, which has been in charge of producing and marketing this Asian tomato for several years. "This tomato is a success because of its extraordinary sweetness, aromas, and nuances," stated the president of the cooperative, Pedro Ruiz.
The efforts and commitment to innovation of the Grenadian cooperative have borne fruit. Not surprisingly, the Amela tomato has been awarded different awards, including the Fruit Logistica Innovation Gold Award 2022 for the "unique sensory attributes and hard work behind this unique product."
"This prestigious award is a recognition of quality and the exchange of knowledge to innovate and open new paths to agriculture," stated Ruiz. The cooperative, which has 700 farmers, grows different vegetables and other tomato varieties, such as Adora.
In the cultivation of Amela, the size of the harvest is sacrificed in favor of flavor and excellence. In fact, the cooperative only cultivates this variety in two hectares, with plans to expand to another two due to the high demand for Amela in different countries, such as Switzerland, Germany, the United States, and the Middle East.
Each plant produces about half a kilo of tomatoes. Its fixed costs are very high and, therefore, its price when reaching the consumer is also high.
However, this hasn't been an impediment to its success in the Asian country and in the European gourmet market. It may not be an everyday tomato, but it is very appreciated by those who seek great flavor and can pay for it, even restaurants.
The cooperative's product catalog includes mini-vegetables, Japanese eggplant, and subtropical fruits, such as avocado and mango. They produce some 70,000 tons of agro-food products a year.