Scientific American says 7,000 different types of tomatoes are cultivated around the world. But how many can you find at your local market or super market?
Tomato belongs to the large and diverse Nightshades family (or Solanaceae). With more than three thousand species, it includes major “Old world” crops, such as eggplant from Asia, and “New world” ones, like potatoes and peppers from South America. Like potatoes, tomatoes originated in the Andean region, but where exactly it was domesticated is still unclear. Some studies say it was Peru; others say Mexico, in the Vera Cruz Puebla area. The word “tomato” comes probably from the Mexican Nahua people word “Tomatl”, which described “plants bearing globous and juicy fruit”.
The tomato was introduced to Europe in the mid-1500s, but up until the early 1800s, its fruit was thought to be poisonous, and thus used only as ornamental plants. Commercial production began after the 1860s, when tomatoes were finally accepted by consumers. Today, tomato ranks among the top vegetables being produced around the world. The top five largest tomato producers are: China, Europe, India, the USA and Turkey. Together, they account for 70% of global production.
This campaign is made possible by the generous support of Corteva Agriscience.