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Galaxy Suite of Tomatoes Takes Off

Hannah Swegarden, horticulture doctoral student, with a bin of Galaxy Suite tomatoes bred by Phillip Griffiths, associate professor of plant breeding and genetics.
Matt Hayes / Cornell CALS

A recent study of consumer demands found that New York State residents want more products that are local, organic, and possess high quality, diverse flavors. In response to this feedback, plant breeder Phillip Griffiths, associate professor of plant breeding and genetics at Cornell AgriTech, developed a new line of grape tomatoes. After being thoroughly consumer and field tested, the Galaxy Suite is available for growers to start planting.

The suite consists of five diverse varieties of grape tomatoes, each with unique characteristics. The range of shapes and colors available in the suite juxtapose the classic idea of a plain, bland grape tomato. From the yellow oblong Starlights to the marbled Supernovas, each variety in the suite is carefully crafted to offer a novel culinary experience. The diversity of these new varieties was no accident. Griffiths’ program focuses on creating diverse quality traits in fresh vegetables.

The suite was designed to satisfy consumer demands, while keeping growers needs in mind. The tomatoes are highly productive without sacrificing quality. They do well in high tunnels and greenhouses, which are common horticultural growing systems in NYS. All of the varieties in the suite are ideal for organic growers with Wegmans already performing field tests on their organic farm.

By harnessing diversity, Griffiths created products that could connect more NY farmers to profitable niche markets in New York City.

“This effort is coming to fruition at the same time these markets are expanding,” Griffiths said of his hopes for the Galaxy Suite in an interview with CALS News . “It has helped us link with consumers, farm-to-market growers and people who are ultimately just interested in great food.”

Read the full article on the CALS website.

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