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History and Journey of a Tomato

Although the exact origin of this puzzling fruit is unknown, it is believed to have been originated in South America and eventually travelled to the North until it finally started getting properly cultivated in the lands of Mesoamerica between Mexico and northern Costa Rica. Eventually, the tomato fruit was domesticated to a greater extent and got integrated into the cuisine of the region. From that point on, tomato slowly spread across central and South America, getting put into different uses. Eventually, personalities like Christopher Columbus and Hernán Cortés saw the potential of this plant, took its seeds back to Europe. and popularised it all over the continent. The cultivation of tomatoes was highly encouraged here and started getting used regularly as a common food in the early 17th century in some countries like Spain. In the counties like Italy, it wasn’t immediately accepted but flourished abundantly from the 18th century onwards. Finally, the tomato reached its’ last stop and built its base in Asia in the 19th century. It arrived there with the help of British consul in Syria John Barker who directed the first efforts for tomato cultivation. By the mid-19th century, tomato gained much popularity and started being used widely in Syria, Iran and China.

The widespread culture of modern and commercially grown tomatoes as we know it today owes its being to the efforts and work of Alexander W. Livingston, an American scientist and botanist. He dedicated the majority of his life to cultivating tomatoes, developing superior breeds and improving their quality. The tomato, as we know it today wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of Lord Livingston.

Currently, 177,118,248 tonnes of tomatoes are produced worldwide in a year. The largest producers being, China with 24% of world production, followed by United States, Turkey, India, Egypt and Italy.



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