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Remaking The Jersey Tomato

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBS) - Folks who grow their own tomatoes are in for a treat.

Researchers at Rutgers University's Agricultural Experiment Station are making a limited supply of seeds for the new, improved version of a classic Jersey tomato.

It's called the Rutgers 250, with roots in the original Rutgers tomato released more than 80 years ago. The intervening years diluted the variety, and left it with defects.

But Professor Dr. Tom Orton says they found out about five years ago that Campbells still had some of the original stock:

"We decided with Campbell's Soup to undertake to remake the Rutgers variety with some improvements, so that we would have a renewed population that we would have some control over that we could maintain the quality of it."

Orton says the Rutgers 250 has a great mix of sweetness and tanginess:

"This tomato will deliver people an excellent flavor profile, only it's a little bit easier to grow."

Orton says that, unlike the new tomato varieties bred to grow in California and Florida, the Rutgers 250 is specifically bred for this region. And, he says, gardeners are encouraged to save the seeds:

"We urge people to do that -- it's what people did back in the 1800s. They didn't go to seed companies, and could only buy seed. That's one of the nice things about this; it's open-pollinated, and it'll breed true."

Orton says there are 5,000 seed packets available for home gardeners, and about a hundred packets for commercial growers.

Rutgers 250 Order Form

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