It may be back to the future for the Rutgers University tomato breeding program.
The university's New Brunswick-based New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, under the "Rediscover the Jersey Tomato" project, is re-examining tomato varieties grown between the 1930s and 1970s, according to a news release.
The goal is to revive some of the best flavored and top performers and make seed available to commercial and home growers alike.
One candidate is Ramapo F1, a hybrid tomato developoed by breeder Bernie Pollack and released by the experiment station in 1968.
Under the project, the experiment station began making Ramapo seed available once again in 2008.
Moreton F1 hybrid was added to the project in 2009, since its early season maturity complemented the mid- to late-season ripening of Ramapo.
Moreton was released by Harris Seeds in 1953 and was grown commercially for severeal years.
Through a cooperative effort among Eastern Seed Service of New Jersey, Harris Seeds and the experiment station, Moreton seed was reintroduced.
The latest addition is KC-146, also known as Campbell's 146, which will be available this growing season.
The round processing variety was developed by Campbell's Soup and released in 1956.
It was wilt-resistant, crack-resistant and better flavored than other processing types of the era, according to the release.
It was the predominant variety grown under Campbell's contracts for several years, eventually being replaced by newer varieties that had a broader disease package.
Although KC-146 was developed for processing, it has intense flavor when sold for the fresh market.