The tomato, native to America, is a fruit with
proven health benefits
that seeks to increase its consumption and ensure that original varieties are not lost.
99% of what is consumed in Argentina is produced in greenhouses.
from the cross between old varieties that were genetically modified.
They give a more durable, resistant and more profitable fruit.
The problem is that in order for it not to ripen two or three days after being cut from the plant,
the flavor and aroma of the tomato was lost
And also part of the nutritional properties that these old "red" tomatoes have.
Varieties of tomatoes at the festival that took place last weekend in Mendoza.
In Argentina, the fresh consumption of tomatoes is around
16 kilograms per person per year
It is the second most demanded horticultural crop behind the potato.
Globally, more is eaten: 20.6 kilograms of fresh tomato per year per person.
There are 15 million hectares planted with this fruit.
"I don't know anyone who doesn't like tomato. It is consumed all over the world. It has a
balance between sugar and acidity
, it can be eaten fresh as a fruit, or in preparations; and it provides beneficial properties because it is very rich in antioxidants" , says the doctor in Bromatology María Sance, organizer of the first
, which was held last weekend in Mendoza.
Sance and the Labrar project
support the work of small local producers.
They work to generate volume of organic raw materials that go directly from the producer to the table.
"We have to
increase tomato consumption
profitability for small producers
," the food scientist proposes.
María Sance is a doctor in Bromatology and has been researching tomatoes for 15 years.
The tomato festival was inspired by
the large organic garden of the Casa Vigil restaurant in Maipú
, Mendoza, which Sance and her husband Alejandro Vigil (oenological manager of Catena Zapata and El Enemigo) own and where seasonal vegetables are grown. the base of the product gastronomy that they offer.
The meeting was held there on Saturday, February 25.
It brought together 700 researchers, producers, gastronomy and consumers to talk about
the recovery of ancestral varieties
, the health benefits and the integration of organic production with the gastronomic market.
Anchovy and tomato bruschetta, one of the dishes they prepared at the festival.
During the festival there was a tomato harvest, seed relief, sensory analysis of the different varieties, tasting of tomato-based products, a producers' fair and tomato dishes made by chefs and cooks from Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, such as the Chilean Rodolfo Guzmán (from the Boragó restaurant, ranked among the best in Latin America), Christophe Krywonis and the Iberá Cooks.
The importance of color
The red color of the tomato is due to the properties of
lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that prevents cancer
and different types of non-communicable chronic diseases.
Like any fruit, tomato is a good source of nutrients, such as vitamins A (beta-carotene), C (folic acid) and E (tocopherols), as well as providing fiber, calcium, iron and other minerals.
antithrombotic and anti-inflammatory functions
; it reduces the risk of suffering from certain types of cancer, such as prostate cancer, and cardiovascular diseases (prevents bad cholesterol) and osteoporosis," describes Sance, who has been studying this fruit for 15 years at the National University of Cuyo (UNCuyo).
And he expands on the importance of the
nutrient that gives tomato color
: "Lycopene is concentrated in certain tissues such as testicles, prostate, adrenal glands, liver and kidneys. It helps prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases associated with of cellular oxidation".
The tomato is native to America, from where the Spanish brought it to Europe.
The Aztecs knew it as
xïctomatl, which means fruit with a navel
At first it was used as an ornamental plant, but since the 19th century its cultivation for consumption intensified.
The main producing countries are China, the United States, Turkey, Italy and Egypt.
"Fruit with navel".
The name of the tomato has its origin there.
"The tomato comes from southern Ecuador, northern Peru and Mexico. But
it returned to Argentina with Italian and Spanish immigrants
at the beginning of the 20th century, mainly in farms of the productive belt of La Plata," says Iris Peralta, professor of Botany in the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences of the UNCuyo.
The round, segmented and flattened style is called platense tomato;
and is one of the oldest varieties.
In a study of the terroirs, with the support of INTA, Professor Peralta and her collaborators surveyed producers in isolated areas.
They found small productions of criollo tomatoes in Valle Fértil in San Juan;
in the region of Luracatao, in Salta;
around the El Carrizal dam, in Mendoza;
and in Valle Azul, in Río Negro.
to integrate those producers of old varieties with the market
. In general, the producer prefers a more compact tomato that does not have as much loss. We did tests and we detected that with rootstocks,
crop productivity increased by 30%
," he explains. the Mendoza teacher
There are more than
a hundred varieties of tomatoes
The oldest that are cultivated in Argentina are those of the La Plata type and the heart of ox.
Unlike the greenhouse plum tomato, these round tomatoes have very thin skin, fleshy fruit, and very few seeds.
Its flavor is deliciously sweet, very juicy
These are the tomatoes with the most color, the most lycopene and the most antioxidants, and therefore, a greater preventive effect on health.
Juan Ignacio Gerardi, founder of Bioconexión, who promotes agroecological consumption and the revaluation of small producers, joined the task of bringing organic tomatoes to the table of Argentines.
During his participation as a speaker at the festival, Gerardi said that in order to increase
consumption , it is necessary to avoid "uprooting, loss of productivity and knowledge" and ensure "fair trade for producers."
They identify four causes why the tomato lost its flavor
Ox heart: the tomato so tasty that it is served as a juicy steak