Tomato, Solanum lycopersicum, is native to South and Central America, and it is now extensively cultivated throughout the world. Tomatoes are a rich source of vitamins and antioxidants valuable to human diets (Beecher, 1998; George et al., 2004). Each American consumes an average of nearly 80 pounds of tomatoes every year (Jones, 2008), which makes tomato the second most consumed vegetable crop. In 2007, the world produced 285.8 billion pounds of tomatoes, including 27.7 billion pounds produced in the United States (annual crop value: ≈$25 billion; USDA tomato statistics, 2010). There are more than 7000 tomato cultivars available for use by home and commercial gardeners worldwide (Jabr, 2012). However, most cultivars are adapted to high tropical and subtropical temperatures. These varieties take from 60 d to more than 95 d to mature. Only a few cultivars have been introduced for use in high latitudes, such as states in the upper midwest region of the United States, especially between the USDA growing zones 2b and 5a. These northern cultivars can reach maturity within 45 d, making tomato production feasible in areas with a short growing season. One drawback to many northern cultivars is that yield is often lower than desired. This characteristic limits the choices of economically valuable cultivars for short-season farms and home gardens (Jones, 2008). To provide for the tomato demands of northern states, costly long-distance transportation from the south or greenhouse crops are required to meet the commercial year-round demand. Researchers at the University of Minnesota aimed to fill this gap by breeding and selecting for cultivars adapted to short-season requirements. ‘Ground Jewel’ and ‘Ground Dew’ are the first new cultivars released by the University of Minnesota to meet this demand.
‘Ground Jewel’ and ‘Ground Dew’ are two new dwarf tomato cultivars with determinate growth habits. Fruit yield of both cultivars is high, relative to the mass of mature plants (87% for ‘Ground Jewel’ and 84% for ‘Ground Dew’). Both cultivars are the result of an initial cross between ‘Zac-Heart’ and ‘Micro-Tom’ in 2007. Successive generations were selected for high fruit yield, short time to maturity, dwarf plant structure, and stable phenotype. ‘Ground Jewel’ and ‘Ground Dew’ are attractive varieties for both commercial producers and home gardeners, especially those residing in regions with a short growing season.
George, B., Kaur, C., Khurdiya, D.S. & Kapoor, H.C. 2004 Antioxidants in tomato (Lycopersium esculentum) as a function of genotype Food Chem. 84 45 51 doi: 10.1016/s0308-8146(03)00165-1
Jabr, F. 2012 Dollars and scents: The chemistry of a delicious tomato. Scientific American. 9 Dec. 2020. <https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/delicious-tomato-chemistry/>
Jones, J.B. 2008 Tomato plant culture: In the field, greenhouse, and home garden. 2nd ed. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC, Boca Raton, FL. doi: 10.1201/9781420007398