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.
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.
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.
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.
These small to medium-sized tomato fruits weigh between 2-4 ounces.
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.
These are hybrid tomatoes, which use controlled pollination that combines two varieties artificially.
When it comes to maintenance, standard best practices apply to the Kumato. You can learn more about these best practices in this helpful guide.
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 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.
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.
Your plant will need a fertilizer that has lots of organic material. Your fertilizer should have higher concentrations of Phosphorous and potassium with low to moderate levels of nitrogen. You should notice three numbers on the fertilizer bag representing the Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium or NPK ratio. Completing a soil test will give you a good idea of the best ratio to use for your soil otherwise, you can use an all-purpose fertilizer that has a 10-10-10 balance.
You will need to prune your plant constantly to ensure you get the best possible yields and quality fruits. You can read this handy guide and watch this video to learn more about the best way to prune your tomato plants.
Most hybrid varieties are highly resistant to many common diseases that afflict tomato plants. However, that doesn’t mean they are totally immune. You can consult this guide to tomato diseases to learn more about what you can do to protect your plants.
Pests like birds and insects always endanger your harvest. Insects are especially troublesome and can ruin your fruits in no time. You can learn more about countermeasures to take against these pests in this helpful guide.
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.
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.
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.
This tomato is great for cooked dishes such as soups, casseroles, and pasta dishes.
The Kumato is one of the best tasting raw tomatoes in the world and is considered a big upgrade for any salad or sandwich.
You can also preserve your Kumato tomatoes using various methods. Below you’ll find guides for each.
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.
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
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.