Rutgers Researchers Develop Improved Tomatoes

Researchers at Rutgers University developed new seeds for juicier and firmer tomatoes, marking an improvement for one of New Jersey’s most quintessential crops.

The Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station in Cumberland County released the seeds, named “Rutgers 250” after the University’s 250th anniversary this year, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Tim Orton, a professor in the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology, says that the new type of tomato aims to be firmer in taste and “juicier” based on the levels of acidity and sugar.

The first “Rutgers tomato” entered the market in 1934, and has been a staple of tomatoes sold in the state ever since. Over the following decades, however, New Jersey tomatoes have deviated from their original design in both flavor and consistency. The new Rutgers 250 seeds are intended to improve upon the Garden State tomato, while also reconnecting it with its original 1934 design.

Researchers said that 2000 seed packets are now available for purchase from local stores, and that work is currently underway to release a version of the seeds for large-scale commercial farming by 2018.