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Old December 19, 2009   #1
Mt.Imagine
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Default Tamarillo ('tree tomato')

Tamarillo is a tomato relative that is a tall tree or shrub which produces edible fruit that has hints of sweet, sour, and a rich sundried tomato flavor. I've just started (potentially) five Tamarillo trees from seed. I really love the fruit, and obtained the germplasm locally from a fruit stand last week. Does anyone here have experiences growing these?
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Old December 19, 2009   #2
Duh_Vinci
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Don't know much about the fruit personally, but maybe this page has some useful info for you: Tamarillo

Regards,
D
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Old December 19, 2009   #3
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I have one going now. They are absurdly productive, my 2 year old tree will probably produce 60+ pounds of Tamarillos this year.

Keep them well watered in free draining soil and shelter them form the wind, they really don't like the wind.

Also there are both Red and Yellow types of Tamarillos.

I wold suggest you look up some details online about pruning and getting the tree to branch out down low early on, mine has grown kinda tall and the fruit is at the top, easier to manage if you can keep them shorter.

They say that growing them from cutting gets you a more branchy and shorter tree, better for harvest and management. So I will take some cuttings this year to propagate a few more trees.

Better find some friends that like the fruit, with 5 trees you will have a glut of them by next summer.

Mark
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Old December 19, 2009   #4
Mt.Imagine
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Aussiemark, that is great to hear that you get over 60 pounds per year! I've read a bit about growing them, and wind can be an issue here, so I'm going to try putting them in a reasonably sheltered place (I also have a tall greenhouse where one could go.) These are the red kind, or at least the parents were--I see from Duhvinci's link that there are many interesting cultivars, but I've only had red fruits.

I will see about pruning a bit to encourage side-branching, as it will also be easier to protect them from the wind if they aren't too tall. They seem to have very similar needs to papaya (that I've also just started), which fruits within a year and is wind-sensitive, hates standing water. I certainly hope to have more than enough to gorge myself and share around. I may also try growing from cuttings when my tree is ready for that. Thanks for the tips.
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Old December 20, 2009   #5
Aussiemark
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Mt. Imagine,

Mine is planted behind a small shed that gives shelter from prevailing wind.

Oh and put in a big strong stake too. I have one that is 2 meters tall to help stabilise it.

I'm sure you will really enjoy growing this tree, its pretty amazing how quickly they grow and how quickly they become super productive.

Mine is at a house we use over Christmas, I't try to get some picture and post in the new year.

Mark
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Old December 20, 2009   #6
Aussiemark
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Here are a couple of good links to Tamarillo information.

http://tomatoville.com/showthread.ph...718#post150718

http://www.tamarillo.com/
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Old December 20, 2009   #7
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Tamarillo isn't really related to tomatoes. Yes, it's in the family Solanaceae but there are well over 100 different genera in that family that includes peppers and potatoes and eggplant and so much more. Cyphomandra is just one of the Genera in that family.

It's also called a tomato tree b'c back in Victorian times there was kind of a tomatomania going on and since the red fruits resemble roma tomatoes that's how it got its name of Tree Tomato. Which is confusing b'c there really is a tomato variety called Tree Tomato, which isn't.

In the Sunday supplements there are usually ads for it, but what they don't say is that it's a tender shrub, doesn't fruit until the second year and that the fruits, to many, are very acerbic,sour.

Yes, it is grown in CA and grown by many with an Indian/Asian/ African background b'c it's also grown there, and yes, there are different cultivars of it that have fruits other than the standard red.

I'm curious to know what those of you who grow it do with the fruits. Most folks who post at tomato sites have bought it as Tomato Tree, and once they find out it isn't a tomato at all, also find out that they don't like the fruits, and others not knowing it's a tender shrub also find out that they see it in the Fall but the shub is winterkilled.
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Old December 20, 2009   #8
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Carolyn,

They are alright fresh with some sugar, a little sour without. You can mix them with ice cream or add to salad or salad dressing.

This will be my first year with a home crop, which from 1 tree is more than a family of 4 would likely ever use.

I don't consider them as good or versatile in the kitchen as tomatoes. I think the big attraction for me was a huge amount of produce, in very little time (just over 12 months for me) and very little effort, and should produce well for another 4-7 years.

I suspect I will be doing lots of googling recipes to find ways to use all the production.

I will give an update once I have started to use them more proficiently, once the crop comes in.

Something that I find absurd is that I have seen Tamarillos for sale in Australia for $26 per kilo, in theory that means the crop on my tree is worth $706 retail price. Form a 1 cent seed, just add water.

So somebody must really like them and I figure I have not found their highest and best use yet. You do find people, now and then, that just rave about them.

I also think they are a great looking plant in the garden.

Mark
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Old December 20, 2009   #9
Duh_Vinci
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Somehow, talking about this fruit intrigued me. Rather different from most fruits I've seen.

And speaking of finding recipes in the future, here is a link to a site that shows few: tamarillo.com Looks like rather versitile little guys!

Regards,
D
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Old December 20, 2009   #10
Mt.Imagine
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Aussiemark, I have a part of my garden that is backed by a barn wall and surrounded with a fence which I think I will reinforce with netting as an additional windbreak, and I think that will do well (I might put a persimmon in there as well.) I will take your suggestion of a strong stake. I'll be glad to see pictures of your tree when you can. Tamarillo-dot-com is interesting; I'll have to ask around to see how many varieties are available here in Hawaii. It sounds like tamarillo really is an expensive specialty item in Australia; they are much cheaper here.

Carolyn, I knew it wasn't very directly related to tomatoes (it is interesting to learn how it got that name!), but coming from the same region as things like pepino, naranjilla, and other uncommon relatives of the wider family. I really like the taste of tamarillo--it may just be a better variety and growing conditions here, but I don't find them predominately sour (certainly not on the level of things like guava), but more sweet and with a strong sundried tomato flavor (though the first time I tried it, a few years ago, I didn't think anything of it.) I can see why it might not be practical to market the plants to people in the northeast as a "tomato."

I usually just bite off the end, and squeeze the insides into my mouth, sometimes eating a bit of the skin as well, and I find it really good that way. I've also thought of throwing them into my vitamix whole for a nice sauce/dressing.
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Old January 3, 2010   #11
Mt.Imagine
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I found this interesting website about growing rare tamarillo relatives . It has a lot of information about the arrival of these various Cyphomandra species to New Zealand and the potential for breeding projects; scroll down the page for an in-depth profile of each.
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Old January 4, 2010   #12
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I have some of the other cyphomandras, there are quite a bit of them. They are grown especially in Brasil, where they produce abundantly. In my climate none of them can be grown outside, even not cyphomandra corymbiflora. This one can take some frosts, but temperatures can drop deep during wintertime.
All my cyphomandras are tub-grown and placed in a sunny but frost-free sheltered place during winter. Because of the tubs, production isn't as abundant, but it's not too bad. I think the fruits are quite versatile, the tamarillo is indeed the best one to eat (I didn't try them all yet), and, with a bit of imagination ,can be as versatile as tomatoes. Just don't compare them to tomatoes, despite their name (tree tomato!), but consider them to be a fruit on their own, with lots of uses. If they're fully ripe, I don't add sugar, but if they're not completely ripe, some sugar is recommended.
There is one cyphomandra that produces fruits within one long season over here: cyphomandra abutiloides, with small , 2 cms long fruits. These fruits aren't really bad, but there is a bitter, tangy flavour in them that makes them inferior to tamarillos.
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Old January 4, 2010   #13
Medbury Gardens
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So low a temperature would cyphomandra corymbiflora take
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Old January 5, 2010   #14
orflo
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It is said to take at least -7° C , but this resistance is always dependant on the other circumstances (dry or wet, wind,...) as well.
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Old January 5, 2010   #15
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Bugger,i'm just on the borderline being ok climate wise to grow them here,but its those once in a ten year extreme cold periods that would end up killing them.

Man i would earn some brown points from my wife if i could have grown them,she just loves them.
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