The 10 Tomatoes That Made the World …The Twist Turny History to Be Displayed at Chelsea.
Mafia? War propaganda? Used as a projectile? The history of the tomato is more surprising than you would think! This is certainly a tale worth telling and there are no better experts to display and share this fable in the fruitiest of forms at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this September, than Burpee Europe and Pennard Plants.
The display from the Burpee and Pennard teams will be based around the forthcoming book ‘Ten Tomatoes That Changed the World’ by William Alexander. It will explain why and how the humble Love Apple became the most popular vegetable in the world, having entered our diets in every guise from sandwiches and salads to spaghetti, pizza, and ketchup.
If you always wondered what the best tomato is for making delicious Italian sauces, then ‘San Marzano’ is your man, and did you even know that there was a tomato called ‘Heinz’? The stories about the tomato just keep coming, from the first red and yellow tomatoes from Mexico in 1548 to the 1800’s when spaghetti and tomatoes finally met on one plate in Italy….and the most delicious marriage made in tastebud heaven arrived!
Simon Crawford of Burpee Europe states, “I first became aware of Bill Alexander’s new book when he approached me for information on Burpee’s ‘Big Boy’ one of the ‘TEN’. I was able to pass on some notes from the breeder of ‘Big Boy’, Ovid Shifriss and some testimonials from Burpee customers who first tried the variety in 1949/1950. I also provided a few suggestions for the section Bill was writing on hybridisation in tomato. I was immediately enthralled by the title and after a few days of turning the idea over in my mind I called Chris Smith at Pennard to suggest a Chelsea display based around the idea of ‘Ten Tomatoes that Changed the World’. Chris immediately said yes, and we started to make a plan and sowing schedule. The change of dates for Chelsea from May to September make a tomato exhibit a much more achievable goal, as the crop will be easier to manage in July and August compared with March and April (for the usual Chelsea dates).”
Simon continues “Bill is a very inspiration individual who has been able to capture the ‘romance’ of the tomato (love apple) and the way the fruit has been developed in a practical way over the last 500 years. The story also illustrates what plant breeding has achieved in very practical way through the development of what is now one of the world’s most important horticultural crops.”
The Burpee team having monitored the tomatoes (and other veg growing for the display) closely can see that all the varieties are working hard to grow wonderfully and are obviously looking forward to having their days in the limelight at the auspicious RHS Chelsea Flower Show late this year!
William Alexander, the author of the book said: “To an American like me, being represented at the Chelsea Flower Show is like playing on Center (sorry, “Centre”) Court at Wimbledon. And to have Burpee – who gave us one of the Ten Tomatoes That Changed the World (the game-changing Big Boy) – use my book as the theme of their show is a huge honor. “Ten Tomatoes” spans 500 years of tomatoes, from conquistadors to carbon-neutral greenhouses, and what better way to grasp the impact and scope of the world’s favorite vegetable than to see all ten of them displayed all together”
Visitors will be able to see the display between 21 – 26 SEP 2021 at the Chelsea Flower Show on stand number GPB150.