Posted: Tuesday, June 8, 2010 at 10:41AM EDT
University of Idaho researchers will release new varieties of tomatoes that were developed in Idaho, allowing commercial growers and the public to grow tomatoes with names like Gem State, Ada Gold and Shoshone.
The squatty plants with robust fruit are the brainchild of two university researchers who spent more than 30 years developing a variety that would thrive in both southern and northern Idaho.
During the 1970s, University of Idaho Researcher Bill Simpson had been developing tomatoes for commercial production in southern Idaho’s relatively long seasons. At the same time, former University of Idaho horticulturist Art Boe set out to develop short-season tomatoes for northern Idaho’s high-elevation sites.
This spring, University of Idaho Extension Educator Ariel Agenbroad of Canyon County is coordinating limited sales of the open-pollinated varieties. Agenbroad and the Ada and Canyon County Master Gardeners methodically multiplied much of the seed last year.
Most of Boe’s and Simpson’s tomatoes are short and productive, with small, tasty and early fruit, says Agenbroad. “Some of the Master Gardeners told me their University of Idaho tomatoes were the first to produce last year, out of all of the ones they were growing.”
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