Tomatoes, it is said, are the quintessence of summer in a bite. They are also responsible for more than half a billion dollars in annual farm gate sales and are Canada’s biggest fresh vegetable export. Canadian growers are facing competition due to lower production costs in other regions, leading to difficulties maintaining their market share. Canadian producers need to innovate in order to offer a differentiated product that will give them a competitive edge.
Generally, plant breeding programs focus on production traits such as yield or disease resistance. Drs. Charles Goulet (Université Laval) and David Liscombe (Vineland Research and Innovation Centre) are collaborating to ensure that new tomato varieties possess these traits, and something more important to the consumer – flavour. The team was awarded $1.8 million for this project, co-led by Genome Quebec and Ontario Genomics.