Tomato’s Dubious Past

Tomatoes are one of the most common garden fruits in the United States and, along with zucchini, have a reputation for outproducing the needs of the grower.


But the tomato has not always been so prized in America.

It’s hard to believe that this vegetable…wait…or is it a fruit, well which ever you want to call it, in early Colonial American history the tomato was considered one of the poisonous and deadly nightshade plants.  And if that wasn’t enough to scare you away, in the late 1690’s it was given a new classification. The Greek term appears to follow an old German word for tomato, wolfpfirsich, which also translates into English as “wolf peach.” Which then unfortunately conjured up Germanic folklore of werewolves.  Tomatoes were definitely on the “do not touch” list.

But all these early American scaredy-cats, were actually correct….

Because, just to seal the tomato’s fate, all parts of the plant, with the exception of its fruit, ACTUALLY ARE POISONOUS.


But, thankfully, you can’t keep a good plant down. And despite its ill-deserved bad reputation, eventually the taste of the tomato won over the American public. And today our local farms are bursting with colorful varieties of these delicious fruits.


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