January 8, 2018
MOSHAV IDAN, Israel (AP) - They say bigger is better, but in the succulent world of cherry tomatoes, one Israeli company is going smaller than ever before.
The "drop tomato" is about the size of a blueberry and the Kedma company in the country's southern Arava desert says it is the smallest one ever cultivated in Israel, perhaps even in the world. It's a point of pride in a country known for its agricultural innovation, where fruits and vegetables are taken seriously and where several strands of the cherry tomato were first invented.
"The idea is that it is comfortable," said Ariel Kidron, a Kedma grower. "You can throw it in a salad, you don't need to cut it. It just explodes in your mouth."
The seed, originally developed in Holland, was modified to match the arid growing conditions in southern Israel. Rami Golan, of the Central and Northern Arava Research and Development center, who accompanied the project, said it was definitely the smallest ever to be grown in Israel — where tomatoes are incredibly popular.
The tiny tomato, smaller than a one shekel Israeli coin, is offered in red and yellow varieties and will be presented to the public at a three-day international agricultural fair in Israel later this month. Early indications are it could be a big hit.
Shaul Ben Aderet, a well-known Israeli chef who owns three restaurants, including Tel Aviv's "Blue Rooster," got some early samples and says the new strand is packed with flavor and will spawn an infinite number of new recipes. He offered it sizzled in a pan, baked into focaccia bread and as a straight-up snack.
"It's very simple, it's clean, it's nice, it's sexy," he said. In a blind taste test alongside two sweets, he said, "they would say the tomato is a candy, that's for sure."