(May 11) CHICAGO — It starts green, turns brownish when it’s ripe, and hopefully returns the green.

Dulcinea Farms LLC, Ladera Ranch, Calif., introduced its Rosso Bruno greenhouse-grown brown tomato at the United 2006 show May 6-9.

The greenish-red tomato is available in two-count clamshell containers, two-count mesh bags and bulk in 11-pound cartons, said Keith Kato, general manager and chief operations officer.

Houweling Nurseries, Delta, British Columbia, grows the Rosso Bruno on three acres in its Canadian greenhouse facility, he said, and expects similar acreage in its Oxnard, Calif., operation starting in November.

The Oppenheimer Group, Vancouver, British Columbia, distributes and markets the product. Karin Gardner, Oppenheimer’s communications manager, said it plans to ship about 2,000 cases a week from May to October.

Dulcinea owns the North America rights to the Belgian variety, Kato said.

“Consumer testing shows that consumers prefer the Rosso Bruno to traditional tomato varieties 4-to-1,” Kato said, citing an In-Home Research study from March 2005.

Kato said suggested retail price is $2.29-2.49 per pack or $3.99 per pound, priced between typical heirloom and greenhouse tomato levels.

At this point, he said, the variety is going strictly to retail, but foodservice expansion is possible depending on volume.