Quest for perfect tomato stretches from N.J. to Israel

January 13, 2008 11:47:20 AM PST
The quest for the perfect tomato began in New Brunswick nearly 50 years ago and ended, for now, in a field south of Tel Aviv, Israel.

After eight years of taste tests from chefs and tomato lovers, agricultural scientists at Rutgers University say they have resurrected one of the most delicious Jersey tomatoes ever.

The elusive "Ramapo" tomato seed has been reproduced in Israel and more than half a million certified organic seeds were shipped this month to New Brunswick.

The Ramapo tomato, named after a New Jersey Indian tribe and developed at Rutgers in 1968, will be back for this summer's growing season after an absence of more than 20 years.

Seed companies stopped producing the Ramapo decades ago because commercial farmers sought varieties that grew well in other regions. The Ramapo did well mostly along the East Coast.