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Posts Tagged: tomatoes

Grafting tomato transplants could improve taste and yield

A larger assortment of tastier tomatoes could be in Californians' future.
Two UC Cooperative Extension advisors are conducting field research to determine whether grafting tasty tomato plants onto high-performing root stock will increase yield and disease resistance while improving tomato flavor, reported Ezra David Romero on Valley Public Radio.

Romero spoke to Scott Stoddard, the UCCE vegetable crops advisor for Madera and Merced counties, and Margaret Lloyd, the UCCE small farms advisor for Yolo, Solano and Sacramento counties.

Stoddard has planted 3,500 grafted tomato seedlings on a farm north of Madera.

“Now we got them in the field and so approximately 83 days from now, if all goes according to plan, we will be harvesting out here and we will see if we can see some yield differences,” Stoddard said.

Lloyd grafted heirloom tomato varieties onto disease-resistant roots on a quarter acre at UC Davis.

“We're kind of working at this level of finding non-chemical management tools that will help overcome these challenges so they [farmers] can continue to grow these nice heirloom varieties,” says Lloyd.

Both scientists will collect data from their trails to see whether it makes sense for growers to implement the practice on their farms. Romero reported that both agreed consumers could, in time, have a tastier, larger assortment of tomatoes to purchase at farmers markets and stores.

Posted on Monday, July 18, 2016 at 2:20 PM

Strong prices boosted the California processing tomato crop

Despite the drought, California farmers produced a record-breaking crop of processing tomatoes in 2014, reported Dale Kasler in the Sacramento Bee.

“It's remarkable, simply remarkable that tomatoes weren't negatively impacted,” said David Goldhamer, an emeritus water management specialist with the University of California Cooperative Extension.

According to the California Tomato Growers Association, the 2014 processing tomato crop amounted to 14 million tons, 16 percent larger than last year and surpassing the old record of 13.3 million tons harvested in 2009.

The growth was attributed to processing tomatoes' increasing value. Processors agreed to pay growers $83 per ton in 2014, up from $70 per ton last year. That prompted farmers to grow tomatoes rather than lower-value crops like rice, wheat and other commodities.

The article says farmers would be unlikely to be able to match the 2014 tomato crop next year if there is another year of drought.

Processing tomatoes -- which are used to make pizza and spaghett sauce, salsa and other products -- make up 96 percent of tomatoes grown in California.
Posted on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 7:26 AM

Can You See the Leaf?

A leaffooted bug on a tomato. This is Leptoglossus phyllopus, as identified by senior museum scientist Steve Heydon of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Once you've seen a leaffooted bug (genus Leptoglossus), you'll never forget it. If you look closely, you'll see a leaflike structure on each hind...

A leaffooted bug on a tomato. This is Leptoglossus phyllopus, as identified by senior museum scientist Steve Heydon of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A leaffooted bug on a tomato. This is Leptoglossus phyllopus, as identified by senior museum scientist Steve Heydon of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A leaffooted bug on a tomato. This is Leptoglossus phyllopus, as identified by senior museum scientist Steve Heydon of the Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Two's company in this photo of two leaffooted bugs. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Two's company in this photo of two leaffooted bugs. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Two's company in this photo of two leaffooted bugs. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Red nymph of leaffooted bug. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Red nymph of leaffooted bug. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Red nymph of leaffooted bug. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Nymph of leaffooted bug checks out it surroundings. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Nymph of leaffooted bug checks out it surroundings. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Nymph of leaffooted bug checks out it surroundings. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Friday, June 27, 2014 at 5:52 PM
Tags: leaffooted bug (3), Leptoglossus (1), pomegranates (5), tomatoes (28), UC IPM (43)

Our Roma Tomatoes and Lilo Passa Pomodoro

Our 2013 summer garden is pretty much a wrap, although there are still eggplants and Roma tomatoes producing fruit out there. I’m beginning to think that these plants are immortal!

In April we transplanted three Roma tomatoes from 4 inch pots. I think they were purchased from Lowes. The only info on the ‘Bonnie’ label was the name- ‘Roma’ tomato, type-‘determinate’, and matures - ‘73-80 days’. So for the past six months we have enjoyed a HUGE crop of Romas! What to do with them all?

Here’s where my old Lilo Passa Pomodoro springs into action. Years ago, I inherited this wondrous piece of kitchen equipment from an Italian friend of the family. On the box it says “made in Italy” by a company called Pedrini. The company was founded in Italy in 1942, and continues to make kitchen gadgets and cookware (which are sold in the USA), but apparently they no longer make Passa Pomodoros…what a tomato-grower’s loss!

The Lilo unit is made of sturdy plastic and stainless steel parts and it is incredibly efficient and easy to use. I just halve the Romas or quarter larger tomatoes, toss them into the hopper, and grind away. The puree is collected in one container and the discarded seeds and skins in another.

My Romas yielded wonderfully thick and low-moisture puree which is perfect for making tomato sauces and paste. I spent not a few days transforming the puree into delicious pasta sauce and salsa roja (enchilada sauce), using onions, garlic, peppers and herbs from the garden. Our freezer and pantry (I also canned 12 pints of Romas) are full of goodies to last all winter.

The Passa Pomodoro. (Photo by Donna Seslar)
The Passa Pomodoro. (Photo by Donna Seslar)

Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 9:13 AM
Tags: Bonnie (1), Passa Pomodoro (1), Roma (1), tomatoes (28)

Master Gardeners at the Erickson Ranch

The Master Gardeners have had a presence at the Erickson Ranch and Dahlia Farm for many years. We have gone to “the Ranch” as many as 3 to 5 times each growing season. We provide a support table with pest notes, compost information, copies of ‘Seeds for Thought’, and info related to the theme of the event.  

During the August event, the focus was on tomatoes, so we provided handouts about growing tomatoes, the vegetable planting guide by Dr. Robert Norris, and a page of the assorted tomato diseases and pests with photos. We had many clients with questions about their gardens and heard their stories about tomato successes and tomato failures. We answered questions and made suggestions for next year.

In September at the “all About Peppers” event, we provided the same support table but added info on planting peppers. We listened as people asked us how to get rid of white flies, tomato horn worms, and mildew on their plants.

Saturday was the last event for 2013 and the focus was on pumpkins. There were pumpkins to purchase, pumpkins to carve, and wagon rides out to the pumpkin patch. The Master Gardeners had the support table full of the usual information and added Halloween masks for the kids and instructions on how to build your own scarecrow. The families came in groups including grandparents, parents with babies in strollers and young children. The Erickson’s had their produce, flowers and jams for sale. The Charlie Wade Blues Band entertained the crowds. Nick, the BBQ man was cooking across the blacktop from Angelina’s biscotti table. Lucas was selling home grown plants while Cindy was making crafts with kids (headbands with fresh flowers being a favorite). Suisun Wildlife Rescue Center had an assortment of birds and reptiles on display. Under a white tent, children were carving pumpkins letting their creative juices flow. It was an entertainment extravaganza. And the best part of all was the six MG’s who volunteered in two shifts and were able to educate the crowds and enjoy the day! A real win-win!

Erickson Ranch entry. (photos by Sharon Rico)
Erickson Ranch entry. (photos by Sharon Rico)

Pumpkins.
Pumpkins.

Carving up pumpkins.
Carving up pumpkins.

Posted on Thursday, October 31, 2013 at 8:20 AM
Tags: dahlias (3), Erickson Ranch (1), events (1), Fairfield (6), peppers (4), pumpkins (5), tomatoes (28)

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