For one variety, plum or processing tomatoes, California accounts for 95% of U.S. production and 35% of world production.
How much does a tomato truck hold? A typical tomato truck holds 50,000 pounds of tomatoes, which is about 300,000 tomatoes. (6 X 50,000) Why are tomato trucks uncovered? Time. During the height of the season, California tomato growers are producing 2,000,000,000 pounds of tomatoes per week! To put that in perspective that is 40,000 tomato trucks each carrying 300,000 tomatoes. The other main reason is that since tomato harvest is in the summer covering the trucks could result in the tomatoes being damaged by the trapped heat.
Tomatoes are high in Vitamin A and C and are naturally low in calories. They are also an excellent source of lycopene, which is the pigment that makes tomatoes red and has been linked to the prevention of many types of cancer. Lycopene is an antioxidant which fights free radicals that can interfere with normal cell growth and activity. These free radicals are what can potentially lead to cancer, heart disease and premature aging. The best sources of lycopene are found in processed tomato products, such as ketchup and tomato products.
Because of the long growing season needed for this heat-loving crop, several states in the US Sun Belt became major tomato-producers, particularly Florida and California. In California, tomatoes are grown under irrigation for both the fresh fruit market and for canning and processing. The University of California, Davis (UC Davis) became a major center for research on the tomato. The C.M. Rick Tomato Genetics Resource Center at UC Davis is a gene bank of wild relatives, monogenic mutants and miscellaneous genetic stocks of tomato. The Center is named for the late Dr. Charles M. Rick, a pioneer in tomato genetics research. Research on processing tomatoes is also conducted by the California Tomato Research Institute in Escalon, California. In California, growers have used a method of cultivation called dry-farming, especially with Early Girl tomatoes. This technique encourages the plant to send roots deep to find existing moisture in soil that retains moisture, such as clayey soil.
The heaviest tomato ever, weighing 3.51 kg (7 lb 12 oz), was of the cultivar 'Delicious', grown by Gordon Graham of Edmond, Oklahoma in 1986
It is held the last Wednesday in August, during the week of festivities of Buņol. The signal for the onset is at about 11 when a loud shot rings out, and the chaos begins. Several trucks throw tomatoes in abundance in the Plaza del Pueblo. The tomatoes come from Extremadura, where they are less expensive and are grown specifically for the holidays, being of inferior taste. For the participants the use of goggles and gloves are recommended. The tomatoes must be crushed before being thrown so as to reduce the risk of injury.
After exactly one hour, the fight ends with the firing of the second shot, announcing the end. The whole town square is colored red and rivers of tomato juice flow freely.
Bunol 2010 Tomato Festival
To celebrate this unique event, tens of tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets in exactly one hour.
The week-long festival features music, parades, dancing, and fireworks. On the night before, participants of the festival compete in a paella cooking contest. It is tradition for the women to wear all white and the men to wear no shirts.