Trader Joe’s Kumato Brown TomatoesPosted: August 19, 2011
Hell yes, brown god-damned tomatoes. I had high hopes for these immediately, as both an inveterate tomato fiend and lover of strange foods. Many color tomatoes have I seen – red and green, tiny yellow dudes and giant misshapen orange heirlooms, but brown?!?! That’s gutsy. Brown is, after all, the color every vegetable wishes to avoid – the visual tip-off that all that was once good and wholesome has putrified into waste. Yet some inspired ad genius at Kumato farms decided “To hell with convention – we’re going to sell brown tomatoes!”
It shouldn’t surprise you that I found these resting next to the Saturn peaches and, like their squat friends, brown tomatoes are largely a non-event. The taste was a touch sweeter and a touch less acidic than your standard hothouse tomato – apparently the kumato has a boosted level of fructose – but I thought it was a very subtle difference. Other than their bizarrely colored flesh (they’re a nice burgundy color on the inside, btw) I found brown tomatoes basically interchangeable with the ordinary sort. I feel fine leaving them to the salads of iconoclasts and antiestablishmentarians who were long ago bored witless by the bourgeois garden-variety tomato. Although, I must say they looked quite nice diced up on my bed of lettuce.
A final note of interest, “kumato” is actually a trade name, and the strain is very tightly controlled by Sygenta, the ominously named company that originally engineered its existence. Only a select handful of farms are allowed the seeds to grow these unusual fruits, and they must obey Sygenta regulations and pay the appropriate dues and tithes to the company – all of which goes to make the act of growing tomatoes sound like the forerunner for a grim dystopian future we shall all find ourselves plunged into soon enough.
Would I recommend them: Only to the rebellious.
Would I buy them again: Sadly, no.
Final Synopsis: A novelty vegetable with no punchline.
A final note, I noticed that over several days the tomatoes took on a steadily redder hue, turning a dark reddish brown on the same day they turned squishy