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|Food Buzz: History of Tomatoes|
Marnero tomatoes are a hybrid variety, though they offer similar sought-after qualities of an heirloom. They are deep red in color with hints of purple, and they can range from 7 to 10 ounces in weight. Their flesh is very soft, giving them an heirloom-like texture, though they are slightly smaller and more evenly shaped than most heirlooms. Marnero also has excellent heirloom-quality flavor described as a "dead ringer" for the popular heirloom, Cherokee purple tomato, with a good balance of sweetness and acidity and a complex aroma. The large indeterminate tomato plants will continue to set fruit all season long, and they offers better disease-resistance and far better yields than an heirloom.
Marnero tomatoes are available in the summer.
The Marnero tomato is a member of the nightshade family, like all tomatoes, along with the potato and eggplant. After years of horticulturists' preference for the botanical name Lycopersicon esculentum, strong molecular DNA evidence is promoting a return to the tomato’s original classification, Solanum lycopersicum. Marnero tomatoes are available exclusively from Johnny's Selected Seeds.
Tomatoes are a good source of calcium, iron, vitamin C and vitamin A. The Vitamin B and potassium in tomatoes make them effective in reducing cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure. Tomatoes are perhaps most well known for their outstanding antioxidant content, which includes lycopene. Studies have indicated that the high levels of lycopene in tomatoes may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.
Marnero tomatoes pair well with their counterparts from the French Heritage collection, marbonne and margold tomatoes, and their excellent heirloom-like flavor is best for fresh eating. Simply slice Marnero tomatoes and add them to sandwiches, veggie trays, or eat as is. They can also be combined with any leafy vegetable like lettuce or spinach for a fresh salad. Tomatoes pair well with soft cheeses and savory herbs such as parsley or chives, but they can also be used with desert type herbs like mint. Marnero tomatoes can be used in cooked preparations, and will cook well with shallots, garlic, basil, and oregano. Store Marnero tomatoes at room temperature until ripe, after which refrigeration can slow the process of decay.
Marnero tomatoes are part of the French Heritage collection developed by the French company, Gautier Semences. Gautier was apparently looking for a single partner to sell the collection in North America, and they teamed up with Johnny's Selected Seeds. Marnero tomatoes and the other varieties of the French Heritage collection made their debut to the North American market in Johnny’s seed catalog in 2015. The name Marnero could be a reference to "Black Sea," the French translation of “Mar Nero.”
Marnero tomatoes are believed to be a hybrid of one of the most popular heirloom tomatoes, the Cherokee purple tomato. They were developed by Gautier Semences, a French seed company, which describes the Marnero tomato as their "black marmande hybrid." This perhaps implies that Marnero is also crossed with a French marmande tomato. Marnero tomatoes are often marketed as "the best of the old and new world" as they offer the classic tomato flavor associated with heirlooms but also the disease-resistance and vigor of hybrids. Developed with greenhouse growers in mind, Marnero tomato plants have more predictable growing habits and good disease resistance, which makes them more suitable for greenhouse growing than true heirlooms.