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Size of San Marzano crop - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Size of San Marzano crop

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  • Size of San Marzano crop

    I was talking with the owner of the company that imports the San Marzano tomatoes we stock, and he talked a lot about the imitators. It turns out that the real San Marzano tomatoes make up .05% of the Italian tomato harvest. Tiny.

    He said that they are good and costly, because they are trained and picked by hand -- when they are red. Unlike large scale tomato processors that plant tough skinned tomatoes that are machine picked when they are green.

    Case in point, our local market carries a "San Mazano" tomato grown in California by a U.S. company. It even has Italian writing on the can. Very sad.

    We tasted the imitator next to the real ones the other night, and you can definitely taste the difference.

    The best way to check is to look for the DOP seal (attached).

    Attached Files
    Last edited by james; 06-06-2006, 11:48 PM.
    Pizza Ovens
    Outdoor Fireplaces

  • #2
    How much for the real thing?

    How much do you charge for the real deal?

    I live on California's Central Coast and wonder about the cost once postage is figured in.

    aka PizzaMan


    • #3
      They aren't cheap. $18 for four 28 oz (big can) cans, plus shipping. Lot's of people buy them along with the Caputo flour -- Vera Pizza Napoletana in a box. :-)

      One of life's little luxuries? It's less than a bottle of Champagne, is almost as good, and lasts a lot longer.

      Pizza Ovens
      Outdoor Fireplaces


      • #4

        I have been growing a San Marzano (species "Pomodoro", variety S. Marzano 3 Selezione Redorta) tomato for a few years now. The seeds are produced by Franchi Sementi S.p.A. of Grassobbio-Bergamo. Is the species and variety of San Marzano tomato you are referring to different from this?
        Fred Di Napoli


        • #5
          San Marzano DOP

          Hi Fred,

          San Marzano can describe both the type of tomato (cultivar) and the specific product. That's why the Italian government came up with San Marzano DOP (denominazione d'origine protetta) -- which describes both the type of tomato, as well as where it is grown, how it is processed, etc.

          I guess it's like wine, where Chianti Classico, Champagne or Cote du Beaune control the grape, the location, the vineyard practice and the wine making practice. Again like wine, they do it both for quality and marketing reasons. By controlling quality and creating a "brand" in the global market, they try to drive up demand (and price) for an excellent product.

          Pizza Ovens
          Outdoor Fireplaces


          • #6
            How can I get this seed?

            Originally posted by fdn1

            I have been growing a San Marzano (species "Pomodoro", variety S. Marzano 3 Selezione Redorta) tomato for a few years now. The seeds are produced by Franchi Sementi S.p.A. of Grassobbio-Bergamo. Is the species and variety of San Marzano tomato you are referring to different from this?
            I am curious about your own exerience with these tomatoes you grow. Do you like your results?

            Do you know how this seed could be available? I live in a Mediterranian climate and love to grow tomatoes.

            I know, I know...it's not the real thing. But I am very interested in a sustainable lifestyle. So could you direct me, please?


            • #7
              Experience with growing San Marzano tomatoes

              I purchase the seeds from our local Agway store. It carries a fairly large variety of seed types imported from Italy that I cannot find in other seed stores in Rhode Island.

              The San Marzano plants grow to a height of over 5 feet and produce a tomatoe that can be 4 or 4 inches in length and of the shape characteristic of this variety. The major draw back is that the fruit takes all summer to ripen. I suspect the ripening time would be less in a climate warmer than that of New England. They are tasty.
              Hope this helps.
              Fred Di Napoli


              • #8
                Thanks for the response, Fred.

                I happen to live in a Mediterranian climate and enjoy growing tomatoes. I guess I need to get on this one right away to have a decent harvest this year.


                • #9
                  San Marzano crop

                  Hi all, small conundrum here. Perceived wisdom is that San Marzano is the best pizza tomato there is. Not available here the answer is to grow our own. Should be a doddle as I live in the tomato growing centre of Turkey.

                  My wife is going to the UK at the end of the month to see family so I sourced Franchi seeds in the UK from a company called Seeds of Italy . Just order, pay and have them delivered to our sons house, right!......... Wrong! The problem is that they offer seeds for 4 varieties of San Marzano tomatoes. Which one do I buy? The options are..........

                  SAN MARZANO
                  SAN MARZANO FOLLIA F1
                  SAN MARZANO NANO 'ASTRO' F1
                  SAN MARZANO REDORTA F1

                  I have also been told that ROMA VF is an excellent tomato for passata.

                  Anyone know the answer?

                  Thanks in anticipation.................inishta


                  • #10
                    Re: Size of San Marzano crop

                    OK............I think we need to add some knowledge on this to the forum data-base. Researching the names has found nothing concrete. I have decided to perform a trial of all varieties and, living in tomato country, all I need to do is persuade a local grower to put the plants in a greenhouse. I would grow them myself but for comparative results the tomatoes would all have to undergo the same regimen. Unfortunately that will exclude organic growing as these folks grow commercially.

                    Some plants will be given to friends to grow on and it should be fun doing the taste-testing. My experience with my WFO should be quite high by then and I envisage a mini tomato-fest around the end of summer. Balmy nights spent with good friends, good wine and most of all............great food!

                    More on this topic in 8-9 months.


                    • #11
                      Re: Size of San Marzano crop

                      An update on the trials.........................

                      The Italian seed has now arrived in Turkey. I have had no luck persuading a local grower to foster my plants. As they are commercial growers and can't sell the product they are loath to give over space. I am now considering buying a greenhouse. It will come in handy to grow on some of my more exotic plant and veg seed.

                      Attached Files


                      • #12
                        Re: Size of San Marzano crop

                        Maybe you can build a low budget greenhouse?
                        Ken H. - Kentucky
                        42" Pompeii

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                        • #13
                          Re: Size of San Marzano crop


                          Though I've never done it myself, I've seen successful small greenhouses made from unmortared, stacked cinderblocks, covered with recycled storm windows (the kind that are put up in the fall and taken down in summer in colder climates). They're really simple and basic.

                          "Made are tools, and born are hands"--William Blake, 1757-1827


                          • #14
                            Re: Size of San Marzano crop

                            .... or even an inexpensive cold frame type green house. I suspect the climate in Turkey would be excellent for San Marzano tomatoes.
                            Everyone makes mistakes. The trick is to make mistakes when nobody is looking.



                            • #15
                              Re: Size of San Marzano crop

                              Around here you often see crops covered with clear plastic draped over hoops - looks really easy to do, so might be an idea?

                              Just asking, but why do the tomatoes need a greenhouse anyway? We plant ours in the garden and they come along fine... I'm thinking Turkey would be a lot warmer and they should grow like mad.
                              "Building a Brick oven is the most fun anyone can have by themselves." (Terry Pratchett... slightly amended)