Did you know tomatoes are the most popular vegetable in the world? According to a 2018 article published by worldatlas.com, tomatoes take first place, and not by a small margin! Although a tomato is technically a fruit because it forms from a flower and its seeds are on the inside, this did not disqualify it. Nearly 400,000 pounds of tomatoes are grown each year. Onions, the second place winner, were not even close to tomatoes in the running, with just over 200,000 pounds produced annually.
George Macculloch (1775-1858) recorded growing tomatoes in New Jersey in his garden journal as early as 1829. Even though many things have changed, it still holds true that if you start growing New Jersey tomatoes no later than mid-May, you can harvest and enjoy them from midsummer to early October. George Macculloch’s garden notes state that 10 to 12 plants were sufficient for his family, including his grandchildren. His notes don’t refer to specific varieties of tomatoes, but today there are many options.
If you are interested in spending a little more time with George Macculloch’s garden journal, MHHM is still inviting citizen scholar volunteers to transcribe one year of his journal. Please email Cynthia Winslow at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Visit Rutgers’ New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station for tomato planting tips and for a selection of varieties that do well in New Jersey.
See a complete list of the 10 most popular vegetables in the world from worldatlas.com.