|OSU Blue tomato|
From what I have read this tomato was developed by Jim Myers, OSU's Baggett Frazier professor of vegetable breeding and graduate students Carl Jones and Peter Mes. The genes involved in producing the OSU Blue tomato are Aubergine (Abg), Anthocyanin fruit tomato (Aft) and atroviolaceae (atv), these genes came from the wild species Solanum lycopersicoides, S chilense, S cheesemanii, respectively.
This means that, just like every other domestic tomato, the OSU Blue is a complex yet stable hybrid. I am happy to say that this is a very stable hybrid just like many other types of tomato and seeds are simple to save and they grow true to type. Being derived from the wild tomato species I had hoped it would be resistant to a bunch of diseases, at this stage I don't know if it is or not.
On a side note I rather like S cheesemanii but they are as rare as hen's teeth in Australia, if you happen to be growing any please talk to me as I would love to get some seeds from you.
The anthocyanin is the same colour that is in eggplants and it is a rich antioxidant. The fruit ripens to a dark blue/purple/black colour wherever sunlight hits it, anywhere the light does not hit ripens red. If a leaf or calyx or whatever is on the fruit it gets a shadow of red. If you were to put a sticker on the unripe fruit it remains red underneath allowing for all sorts of sillyness such as spelling out the names of your kids one letter per tomato.
|OSU Blue Tomato, not overly large|
The fruit are small, but not too small, about 4cm across. The dark colour is mainly concentrated in the skin and a little in the flesh just under the skin. The flesh remains red and the seeds look much like any other tomato seeds.
|OSU Blue Tomato|
|OSU Blue with some skin removed|
They tasted slightly better than an average store bought tomato. Tomatoes from the shops are pretty dreadful at the best of times so this is not a glowing review. If you are expecting a great tasting tomato because it is home grown then you will be disappointed, other than that they are ok. It does taste better than other tomatoes I have grown such as apollo (or possibly roma) so are not all that bad.
They lacked any real depth of flavour, they were not very sweet and were not very sour. They were not overly insipid which was a positive, but they really didn't make a memorable impression on my taste wise. I have certainly eaten a lot worse tasting tomatoes.
|Unripe OSU Blue tomatoes|
|OSU Blue tomato in Australia|
I saved a reasonable amount of seed from my plants and do plan on growing this variety again. I have a few breeding plans and would love to incorporate the colour into a better tasting, higher yielding variety. I have seen some people use this to breed a great tasting tomato that has the black/blue skin but is yellow on the inside, I have also read about someone who grew tomatoes that were red and had dark stripes like a tiger. Lots of fun. There are many options and I only have so much space/time to pursue them. We will be moving to town shortly so I may not be allowed to grow many vegetables for a while.
I have also been asked how OSU Blue Tomatoes got into Australia. I have no idea how this variety found its way to Australia, it was bred after they closed the doors on the importation of tomato seeds. Perhaps a university or the CSIRO imported them legally and they leaked out from there, perhaps some private grower or a sneaky large seed company imported them on the sly and was able to evade quarantine (please do not try this). Perhaps someone or some company payed a small fortune to get the right tests done in order to legally import them. The person who I got the seeds from initially received them unsolicited from another grower and asked no questions.
I guess I will never know how they got into the country, I also don't particularly care. Now that they are here I can grow them, distribute them and use them in all kinds of tomato breeding projects.
OSU Blue Tomato seeds for sale in Australia
I may sell OSU Blue tomato seeds, and/or I may breed some new type of high anthocyanin tomato and sell its seeds. If I do they will be listed on my for sale page along with other annual and perennial vegetables that I sell in Australia.