Purple Tomatoes Are Heading Your Way - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/24/06-SALEM, Oregon

Purple Tomatoes Are Heading Your Way

Oregon State University researchers are fine-tuning a purple tomato -- a new blend of colors and nutrients. The skin is as dark as an eggplant. But it doesn't just look cool -- it could be better for you.

The novel pigment contains the same phytochemical found in blueberries that is thought to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Six years in the making, the purple hybrid could hit salad plates in two years.

Genetic origins are not at issue. The purple tomato traces its roots to a wild species in South America, not a petri dish.

Jim Myers, the Oregon State professor overseeing the project, said he doesn't see it changing the world, but it may entice gardeners and commercial growers to try it.

Although locals can't buy the hybrids yet, several got to sample them at farmers markets around the Mid Valley this summer, and a handful got a sneak peek at a local nursery.

Barbara Taylor, of Monmouth, marveled at its color when she saw the tomato last month. "Wow," she said. "It's definitely different."

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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