Festival of Books
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Jim Myers
Farmers Markets: Indigo Rose tomato, a dark beauty
Farmers Markets: Indigo Rose tomato, a dark beauty

Of the dozen tomato varieties displayed at Vang Thao's stand last Saturday, one, with purplish black skin over a flaming orange ground color, stood out spectacularly. It's a new variety, Indigo Rose, pigmented by anthocyanins, the same compounds responsible for the dark color in cherries, blood oranges and red cabbages, but not previously significant in cultivated tomatoes. It's noteworthy not so much because of the flavor — it's nice but not memorable — but because of the potential health benefits, and also just because of its sheer oddity. Tomatoes generally get pink color from lycopene, orange and yellow from carotenoids, and green from chlorophyll; the...