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History of The Cherry Tomato

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The Santorini Cherry Tomato : 'Tomatines' are Unique to Santorini
A caprice of nature, Santorini's 'baby tomato' is as delicious & aromatic as it is tiny. You could almost confuse it with a small cherry. Unique to Santorini, the sparse rainfall, strong winds and high temperature benefit this particular strain which is unable to prosper anywhere else on our planet.
No one can say with certainty as to whether the tomatina adjusted to the particular island soil conditions or if it originates from a different string altogether. It first arrived in Greece in 1818, when an abbot from the monastery Kapoutsinon, named Fragkiskos, brought the first seeds.
The First Cultivation
The first signs of cultivation have been reported in 1875. A certain fact is from that day to this, the variety has not changed at all, nor has it been grafted with another string.
The older population of the island maintain the first seeds arrived from the Suez. The Santorinian captains used to stop there for supplies, and after trying the tomatina, they brought the seeds back. The crops were of course successful due to the dry climates of both Egypt & Santorini.

The Success of the Cherry Tomato

The 'baby tomato' went so well, by the turn of the 20th century 20,000 acres were being harvested and 14 processing factories were in operation.
But the greatest boost to production was given unwittingly by Lenin. With the Bolshevic Revolution, the churches of Tsarist Russia closed. Since Visanto wine (also a product of Santorini) used by the Russian priests during Communion became redundant, Santorini decided to promote the next best exportable commodity - the tomatina.

The Intervention of the Volcano & Tourism

Up till the 50's all was going fine. But the great earthquake of 1956 injured island life and of course the tomato cultivation. The second blow was implemented by the growth of tourism. The promise of easy money lured the islanders away from their fields. Only a handful of people continue production and prices have taken a steep rise.

Today the tomatina is considered a luxury food item on our table.

The Cherry Tomato or 'Tomatina'


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