Rutgers, open pollinated
(73 - 77 days) Rutgers
tomatoes are midsize, weighing about 7 oz. This is a reliable,
variety that grows on strong indeterminate vines. Expect to pick fruit right up to frost.
Rutgers was developed by Lyman Schermerhorn at Rutgers University in 1934 by crossing J.T.D. with Marglobe. Click here to view Official Announcement of the birth of Rutgers It was a great canning tomato for Heinz and Campbell's and was so successful it soon made up nearly 3/4th of the tomatoes grown by farmers in the United States. The bright red fruit ripens evenly from inside out, and the walls are thick making it ideal for canning. Rutgers was also widely sold as a fresh eating tomato.
In 1943 Rutgers University developed what they considered to be an improved strain of their namesake tomato that was determinate in growth, thus less viney, with tomatoes maturing during a shorter harvest season. Although the 1943 strain may be better from a commercial grower's perspective, taste tests confirm that the indeterminate original Rutgers has better flavor.
Rutgers seeds are the only ones that have ever been shot into space. In 1984 twelve and a half million Park Seed Company's California Supreme Rutgers tomato seeds were launched into space aboard the Challenger shuttle and spent 5 years in orbit aboard NASA's Long Duration Exposure Facility. The Columbia shuttle retrieved the tomato seeds in 1989 and found no significant change in plants grown from the space seeds.
Many Rutgers devotees claim it is the original 'Jersey' tomato. Other candidates for Jersey tomato include Crimson Cushion , Burpee's Big Boy, Ball's Beefsteak, Spark's Earliana, and Ramapo.
Fresh market tomatoes account for 72% of New Jersey's crop. Meanwhile the canning industry is making an attempt to increase production with NJ's only remaining canner, Violet Packing company of Williamstown, sealing 'Jersey Fresh' crushed vine-ripe tomatoes in cans the same day picked from six south Jersey farms.