Farm Table says:
Processing tomatoes are an important part of California agriculture. Many research groups have studied nutritional and quality parameters in fruits and vegetables produced in organic and conventional growing systems, but conclusive evidence supporting the nutritional or qualitative superiority of either production system does not currently exist. The impact of organic and conventional production systems on quality and nutritional parameters of fruits and vegetables is still under discussion.
The objective of this study is to determine whether the production system has a significant effect on the quality and nutritional content of one variety of processing tomatoes grown on a commercial scale by comparing three different growers for two production years.
• Conventional tomatoes appeared to be more mature at the time of harvest as determined by visual inspection of color.
• Total and soluble solids were significantly higher and consistency was greater in organic tomatoes.
• Differences in nutrient content were not statistically significant between production systems.
• Glutamate, glutamine, and tyrosine levels were significantly higher in conventional tomatoes, as were total nitrogen and ammonium concentrations.
Results from this study show that:
• Nutritional and quality parameters vary greatly by a grower, production system, and year for the same tomato cultivar.
• Significantly higher average soluble solids content and consistency in organic tomatoes are especially important to the processing tomato industry.
• The apparent slower development of organic tomatoes may be responsible for many of the significant findings in this study and may explain some of the conflicting reports in the previous literature.
• Future studies should address issues about the different maturation and ripening rates between organic and conventional crops, including measures of vegetative growth and foliage shading. Furthermore, since year-to-year and grower-to-grower variability can be highly significant, it is important that future comparisons of organic and conventional products include multiple growers and years.