Kimberly Kuden, Raul Morales, and Tyler Hoopes Discuss Sakata Seed America Specialty Tomato Program
- by Anne Allen
MORGAN HILL, CA - Some of you may not yet be aware, but I’m a little obsessed with tomatoes. Ask anyone who knows me, and they might say something along the lines of, “Oh, yeah, that weird tomato girl.” But Sakata Seed understands my love for these fruits, and I’m sure the company would encourage me—and consumers—to get out there and get our tomato on.
I had the chance to talk to Raul Morales, Specialty Tomato Product Manager for Sakata Mexico; Kimberly Kuden, Senior Protected Culture Manager, Sakata Seed America; and Tyler Hoopes, Protected Culture Specialist, Sakata Seed America, about the company’s current specialty tomato program.
An abundance of varieties are being harvested in Mexico, Florida, and California, including Sweet Hearts, Amai, Conde, Ruby Crush, Carmesin, Mistral, and Sweet Treats. Raul explained to me that although frosts in Mexico occurred during December and January, the quality of the tomatoes coming out of the company's growing regions is still good overall. As for Sakata's protected tomato offerings in California, Kimberly and Tyler added that quality is excellent there, too.
Sakata’s specialty tomato program now has additional products to satisfy grower needs, such as cherry and grape tomatoes in different colors. The program also provides year-round supply and a dedication to reducing shrink, Tyler tells me.
“We’re constantly attending to growers' needs because we study the market and know what they want. We work together,” Raul explains to me. “We have strong relationships with almost every specialty tomato grower in Mexico.”
When I ask what’s next for the program, they all have exciting news to share with me.
“In the upcoming year, we are launching an array of colored varieties with flavor and high yield, including some of our brand new commercial varieties, Chocostar—a new brown grape variety—and Royalstar—an orange cherry tomato variety,” Kimberly tells me.
Raul adds, “And full-flavored varieties are currently in development in order to cater to high-tech growers' demands.”
As the company continues to ensure that quality and supply are consistent year-round, AndNowUKnow will be on the lookout for its latest and greatest tomato varieties.