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The Kumato Tomato

The elusive and mysterious Kumato tomato is genuinely among the elite varieties. This delicious tomato is grown commercially in Europe, and its seeds are tightly controlled. Because they are tricky to grow, many people prefer buying these fruits from retailers who charge up to four times more per pound than your average tomato.

Let’s learn more about the Kumato tomato and what makes it such a great fruit.

Closeup of box of Kumato tomatoes.

History of the Kumato Tomato

The Kamato is a trademarked tomato first developed in Spain and is the cultivar of a tomato called “Olmeca.” Luis Ortega and his family were the first to cultivate the tomato in the 1970s on their small family farm in the village of Agra. Since it’s a hybrid, seeds will not always grow identical to the parent.

A Swiss agribusiness called Syngenta owns the right to the Kumato seed. It only allows select companies in countries like Canada, France, Belgium, Australia, Spain, Turkey, Mexico, Switzerland, and the U.K. to grow and sell these tomatoes under the Kumato® brand.

However, you can find seeds on the open market if you know where to look for those willing to gamble. Whether they will produce actual fruits is up for debate.

Characteristics of the Kumato Tomato

From what we can tell judging by the countries where this tomato is commercially grown, they can survive frigid and hot climates given they are grown in places like Mexico and Canada. These are hybrid indeterminate or vining tomatoes. The fruit is edible in all stages of ripeness. A greenhouse is an ideal environment for growing Kumato tomatoes.

Kumato tomatoes on the vine.
Kumato tomatoes ripening on the vine.

Ripening Season

The Kumato is a mid to late-season variety. These fruits fully ripen around late October. As we mentioned earlier, these tomatoes are edible during all stages of growth. However, their flavor can vary depending on the stage of ripeness. We’ll explain more on that below.

Tomato qualities

The Kumato tomato is a standard-sized fruit with flesh ranging from green to a reddish-brown or purplish color. When it comes to taste, these tomatoes have a very complex profile. The taste can depend on many factors, including the color of the flesh when eaten. This fruit has a naturally higher “Brix level,” or fructose content, than your standard red tomatoes, making them sweeter. However, they also have a tart aftertaste that gives them extraordinary complexity.

We should note that growers say the flavor can be a bit of a gamble from crop to crop since the seeds are hybrids.

Tomato size

These small to medium-sized tomato fruits weigh between 2-4 ounces.

Closeup of Kumato tomatoes cut in half.

Planting Zones

This is an interesting question. There’s no exact information regarding which USDA zones these tomatoes can grow in. However, given the fact that they are grown in both Canada and Mexico, it’s fair to say they could be grown anywhere within the U.S if grown in controlled greenhouse conditions. Unfortunately, we do not have much information regarding this variety’s heat resistance or cold hardiness.

Size and Spacing

The plant size ranges from 4-6 feet tall. Spacing between plants should be 20 inches. These tomatoes grow best in cages anchored with heavy stakes. You can plant your bushes in the greenhouse by mid-May and transfer them to an open area by the end of the month. By this time, they should be acclimated to the temperature.

Row of young tomato plants in the garden.

Pollination

These are hybrid tomatoes, which use controlled pollination that combines two varieties artificially.

Plant Care

The following sections will provide highlights about tomato care. For a complete guide on optimal tomato plant care, from planting to harvesting and storage, please check out our article on How To Grow Tomatoes: The Complete Guide For the Best Tomatoes.

When it comes to maintenance, standard best practices apply to the Kumato. You can learn more about these best practices in this helpful guide.

Sunlight

Your tomato plant needs at least 6-10 hours of direct sunlight each day. To protect your plants from sunscald, you may want to use a shade cloth during days with temperatures above 95 degrees Fahrenheit. For more information, please consult this sunscald guide.

Tomato plant with young fruit in the sun.

Soil

Tomato plants require soil with a high acid concentration. Your soil pH levels should be between 6.0-6.8. Your soil needs to be well-drained and loose; sandy-loam or loam soil is the ideal type of soil. Clay soil is the least perfect. However, there are steps you can take to rehab clay soil. This guide to planting tomatoes in clay soil should help.

And if you would like to find out the pH level of your soil and the nutrients it has in abundance or needs more of, you can conduct a soil test. For more information about soil tests and how to conduct one, you can read this guide.

Water

All tomato varieties require a good deal of watering. Before getting started, you first want to encircle your plant with about 2-3 inches of mulch. Ensure that you leave 3-inches of space between the base of your plant and the mulch (a full circle of space). The best way to water your tomato plant is to only water at the base, never on the plant’s leaves. Watering directly on the plant can cause sunscald and bacteria infections.

Garden hose sprayer watering tomato plant.

Fertilizer

Tomatoes require specific nutrients (such as calcium) to produce their best crops of fruit. To learn how to determine what your tomatoes need and when they need it, consult our ultimate tomato fertilizer guide.

Pruning/Pinching

Pruning and pinching are a tomato care technique that can help your tomato put forth its best yield. But you need to know when to do this and what tomatoes need it. To help you with this, visit our pruning tomatoes guide.

Person pinching sucker off tomato plant.

Disease

Most hybrid varieties are highly resistant to many common diseases that afflict tomato plants. However, that doesn’t mean they are totally immune. To learn how to detect, treat, and take steps to prevent diseases, read our tomato diseases guide.

Pests

Pests like birds and insects always endanger your harvest. Insects are especially troublesome and can ruin your fruits in no time. For information to help you spot, eliminate, and deter 15 different pests, visit our guide on common tomato pests..

When to Harvest Kumato Tomatoes

Your tomatoes should be ready to harvest between mid and late October and you can harvest your crop going into late winter unless you need to pull them in earlier due to frost conditions.

Person picking Kumato tomatoes from the vine.

Common Uses For Kumato Tomatoes

Kumato tomatoes are amazing any way you use them. These flavorful tomatoes are fantastic in salads and cooked dishes. Plus, they make for a very unique-tasting salsa and tomato sauce.

A Caprese salad with Kumato tomatoes.

What Does This Tomato Taste Like?

The Kumato has a rather complex flavor profile. It has a very sweet taste, sweeter than most varieties of tomatoes, with a unique tartness as well.

Cooking

This tomato is great for cooked dishes such as soups, casseroles, and pasta dishes.

Eating raw

The Kumato is one of the best tasting raw tomatoes in the world and is considered a big upgrade for any salad or sandwich.

Overhead view of a breakfast salad with Kumato tomatoes in it.
A breakfast salad is a unique way to enjoy Kumato tomatoes.

Canning/Freezing/Drying

You can also preserve your Kumato tomatoes using various methods. Below you’ll find guides for each.

Recipe Ideas

Closeup of a chicken Caesar salad with Kumato tomatoes.
Chicken Caesar salad with Kumato tomatoes.

Strozzapreti With Pork and Wine Sausage, Tomato and Chili

Kumato Breakfast Burger

Peas Braised In Tomato With Feta

Kumato and Feta Salad

Mixed Tomato Salad With Sumac, Herbs, and Flatbread

Tomato-Baked Prawns and Feta

Health Benefits of Kumato Tomatoes

Kumato tomatoes contain high levels of magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A, B, C, and K. They also contain a substance called lycopene, a potent antioxidant researchers believe can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Closeup of Kumato tomato wedges.

Where to Buy Kumato Tomato Plants or Seeds

Official Kumato seeds are only sold to select commercial growers. However, we have found unofficial seeds on Etsy. Once again, the quality of these seeds and if they will produce true Kumato fruit is unknown since the plant is a hybrid.

Where to Buy Kumato Tomatoes

Thankfully, you have quite a few options if you would like to buy the fruit locally. Several major grocery chains such as Kroger and Walmart sell the fruit in their stores. You can also check with local nurseries.

A Final Word on the Kumato Tomato

Kumato tomatoes on a cutting board with spices.

The mysterious Kumato tomato is a fun tomato to grow, so long as you understand that there are no guarantees of growing true fruit. However, should you harvest a crop of true Kumato fruit, you’ll enjoy one of the most flavorful tomatoes in the world.

Do you an experience with the Kumato tomato or an amazing recipe you’d like to share? Leave it in the comments section below! To read about other delicious tomatoes you can grow in your garden, click here for our other tomato-related blog posts.

BuddhaHead Steve

Saturday 1st of October 2022

I love tomatoes! The best tasting ones are the ones you grow yourself, then those grown by small farmers, farmers markets can't be beat. But watch out for commercially grown "Heirlooms". They are not much better tasting than "vine-ripened" varieties at any grocery store. They are grown in similarly controlled factories like greenhouses, and they taste like it.

Last year I bought several packs of Kumato, I planned a meal where I would be using a lot of them, I cut them in half, then tasted a slice from each, some were sweeter than others, I separated those out and extracted the seeds. Washed the pulp away and let them dry for several days on a paper towel, Then I wrapped the seeds in new paper towels and saved them in vacuum bags.

The next early spring, March here in Seattle, I planted the seeds into 6 seeding pots in a heated 70* indoor greenhouse (more like a plastic sheet-covered closet) I tended them normally along with other things I was starting. I moved from seeding pots to 6" pots when they started to have true leaves and then again to large 2-gallon pots when they were about a foot tall. My plan was to grow them until the end of May and start controlled hardening them off in early June. But the weather was not cooperating, AT ALL. Mother's Day is the traditional planting day in the NW, but it was still in the low 40's at night. By the end of May, we had 5 hours (yes hours) of 80 degree weather since the beginning of the year. I would open the greenhouse during the day and cover & heat at night. My tomatoes kept growing in the large pots, By late June they were nearly 30" tall and I had to start pruning sucker off. while they were still in pots. Finally, by early July the nights were in the mid 40's. and the tomatoes were outgrowing the greenhouse. I seriously pruned thebottom leaves and planted a good 18" deep. This year I tried something new, I bought a 2 gallon bucket of fish heads & guts from my local Asian fish market ( 2 bucks). I semi-froze them and then chopped it all up. I added about a half cup into the bottom of the hole, covered it with 2" of dirt, and transplanted my huge tomato starts. I had 6 Kumato's, 2 Cherokee Purple, 2 Japanese Black Trifele, and 2 Momotaro. My soil was a 6.5-7 ph, N-P-K low to normal. But I always add lime in the winter... OK, I prune a fair amount, not crazy..July, we finally get some warm sunny weather, water every other day, a little plant food once a month, everything looks good, plants start shooting up & branching out. Lots of flowers, things are looking good, a couple of the plants are in a slightly shady area and they're a little smaller. But WOW..lots of flowers! Now mid September and lots of fruit on the vines. The Kumato are very productive, whole clumps of 6 to 8 tomatoes on a stem, 3-4" in size. maybe 30+ per plant. Of all the varieties I've grown, the Kumato's are the sweetest with complex darkish tangy notes. I talked to another grower whose Kumato's were not very tasty, I think this has to be a result of them being Hybrids. Maybe I just got lucky... or maybe it's the fish heads... BuddhaHead Steve in Seattle

Matt

Monday 3rd of October 2022

Nice work Steve!

Kathleen Kocar

Thursday 8th of September 2022

I saved Kumato seeds from tomatoes I bought at the grocery store when I was on vacation in Colorado. in 2021. I successfully grew them in Bay Village, Ohio (suburb of Cleveland) this year (2022). I had read that they might not be the same as the parent plant since they are a hybrid, but I had no such issue. It is a very prolific plant and the fruits are the same as what I remember getting last year at the store. I grew it in a large pot on my deck.