Anything red can do, brown can do better

From soups, sauces and salads, Australia’s first kumato grower says the brown tomato has a stronger flavour than red tomatoes with a sweeter, crisper taste.

“Everything I would usually use a red tomato in, I use a kumato as they noticeably enhance the taste. The kumato really holds its own in cooking and goes with everything, raw or heated,” said the first kumato grower in Australia, Porta Kakouros.

Although kumatoes are available all year, the season peaks from November to late summer.

The kumato transitions from bright green skin to its ideal dark brown colour and then to a deep red as it reaches the end of its shelf life. It can be eaten at all stages, dark red is ideal for cooking and brown skinned is perfect raw in salads or sandwiches.

“Often people see the colour and are unsure because it is not the traditional red, but the minute they try the kumato they are converted,” said Kakouros. “That’s what happened when I first tried one, and I knew I wanted more.”

Kumatoes are grown hydroponically which maximises taste, quality, provides consistency and is also environmentally friendly.

Porta Kakouros is the largest kumato grower in Australia. Based in Torquay, Victoria she runs a farm with her husband.

Kakouros trialled growing kumatoes in 2004 and since then has gone from 2,000 to 30,000 plants in a 12,000 square metre greenhouse.

Kumatoes, originally from the Galapagos Islands were developed through the crossing of wild and domestic tomatoes, without genetic modification. They are recent to Australia, having only been grown in the country for four years and are now widely available at all Woolworths and Safeway stores.

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