A Rose is a…Tomato?

Linda’s blue orchid (ick!) post may have led to this one subliminally.

I seem to have a thing for oddly-colored vegetables (see my orange cucumber post). When I saw this new tomato in the 2012 Johnny’s Seeds catalog, I had to have it.

‘Indigo Rose’ was bred by Dr. Jim Myers of Oregon State University. Jim wrote the book (literally) on Organic Plant Breeding – using traditional breeding methods to breed varieties of vegetables that perform well for organic farmers.  With ‘Indigo Rose’, his goal was to  increase the anthocyanin content in the skin for increased anti-oxidant properties. Hence the very cool color.  The inside is regular tomato-color, though. Darn.

Pardon my Late Blight.

Johnny’s calls it a "cocktail-sized tomato" – bigger than a cherry, but much smaller than a slicer. Not a good term or use of tomatoes, in my opinion, as it would displace too much of the actual cocktail when placed in the glass.
(insert rimshot)

It has terrific fruit set with trusses of five to eight tomatoes each. 

Please ignore the weed in the photo.

The young fruit is very, very dark purple with a green underbelly (not sure what the technical term is – I know tomato descriptions often include shoulders, so why not an underbelly?).  Red and purple when ripe.   I’m just now getting some ripe enough to eat – the flavor is fine, but nothing really different than your basic cherry tomato. Maybe they need another week or so on the vine.  Interestingly, the hens have shown zero interest thus far. This is a good thing.

Kind of looks like a bad bruise.

Anyone else out there try these this season?

7 thoughts on “A Rose is a…Tomato?”

  1. I did. Got them from Territorial, though. I had radial cracking, as you can see in the picture (click on my name to take you to the blog post and scroll down a bit). Also not impressed with flavor, but way cool color.

  2. One interesting note is that with this form with it’s purple black coloured fruits it definitely looks more Nightshade than the conventional types. Interesting.

  3. Ray – now THAT’S some produce. Great photos of your garden’s bounty! I haven’t seen the cracking in mine. And Kevin – maybe you’ve pinpointed why my hens are leaving these be while devouring every other type of tomato that happens to be at chicken eye-level.

  4. Holly,
    I grew “Indigo Rose” this year too and it was prolific & gorgeous! Even the first young tomatoes had the glossy black color and I couldn’t wait until the ‘red underbelly’ told me they were ripe enough to eat. Then the disappointment – the flavor was worse than bland. In a blindfold test you would have hardly recognized it as a tomato. Here is hoping Dr. Myers will continue his work and make this tomato one to love. Enjoying your posts. Thank you for sharing! Ellen

  5. I too got mine from Territorial, and they are quite popular–visuslly–in our community garden. But, as you say, flavor is disappointing.

  6. I grew them this year. Flavor is pretty blah, but when really, really ripe has an undertone of smokiness. They quit setting fruit even before the really hot weather started, and are not very disease resistant. I won’t grow them again.

  7. I grew the grafted Indigo Rose from Territorial this season. They are beautiful, heavily loaded with fruit and the talk of my neighborhood. We had a long cool spring and only one hot spell so far so none of mine have ripened yet. But I did buy a ripe one at the farmers market to taste. I thought it was delicious. Not a hint of acid, very sweet and almost plummy. I have no cracking even though they are container grown and possibly unevenly watered. Thanks.

Leave a Reply