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james 01-31-2006 09:25 AM

Size of San Marzano crop
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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).


PizzaMan 01-31-2006 03:24 PM

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

james 02-01-2006 03:38 PM

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.


fdn1 02-07-2006 06:19 AM


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?

james 02-07-2006 09:09 AM

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.


PizzaMan 02-07-2006 01:19 PM

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

fdn1 02-19-2006 10:21 AM

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.

PizzaMan 02-19-2006 07:27 PM

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.

Inishta 01-07-2008 08:39 AM

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..........


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

Anyone know the answer?

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


Inishta 01-11-2008 09:47 PM

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.


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