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Old September 5, 2019   #1
Fred Hempel
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Sunol, CA
Posts: 2,546
Default The hybrid evolution of Agi Red

We have a new tomato variety - Agi Red

It is a little red tomato with yellow stripes. Fruits start out saladette size and end up cherry size late in the season.

Fruit flavor is well balanced and bright.

The fruits hold well on the vine and off the vine, however unlike many long-shelf-life varieties, they are not rubbery or crunchy.

It is a tomato that growers and gardeners will love, specifically because it has very high end flavor, in fruits that are consistently good for an extended period after harvest.

Agi Red is a hybrid and this balance of fruit characteristics -- Gourmet flavor and texture, with long shelf life and heavy production -- is something we have not accomplished with our OP varieties (Blush, Sunrise Bumblebee, Lucky Tiger etc.). All of our OP varieties have very good flavor, but deficiencies in shelf-life.

I would not say that it it is impossible to get an OP with the balance of fruit characteristics that Agi Red has. But my experience tells me that it would be much, much more difficult to do so.

Over the course of breeding many OP varieties and now hybrids like Agi Red, I have learned not to assume that OP varieties can be everything that hybrids can be. I still grow, appreciate and develop new OP varieties. But I also appreciate the unique things that hybrids can be, particularly for small growers, like myself, who need to consistently deliver fruits with high end flavor to customers.

Agi Red is a tomato I have been trying to breed for over 15 years, and I do not believe it would have happened if my thinking about hybrids had not evolved.
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