Our Views: Building a better tomato

As another summer draws to a close, a season of fresh, home-grown tomatoes closes with it.

That’s a real source of grief here in south Louisiana, where our food-centric culture places a special emphasis on good produce. But as The New York Times recently reported, some University of Florida researchers are trying to change that.

With selective breeding, the scientists hope to develop grocery store tomatoes that are sweeter and more flavorful.

Horticulturist Harry J. Klee believes that if he and his team can produce tastier tomatoes, Americans won’t be tempted to eat as much junk food.

He’s careful to concede, though, that he probably won’t be able to top tomatoes grown by home gardeners. Commercial tomatoes are usually picked green and shipped long distances before they reach consumers. Even genetically improved tomatoes would suffer some loss in taste because of those practices.

That means continuing appeal for those home-grown tomatoes so many of us enjoy each summer. We’ll be sorry to see them go.