The Public Television of Russia (OTR) channel has released a new episode of Sreda Obitaniya (“Habitat for Life”) show, which aims to provide a new look at familiar products and goods. This time the topic of the show was Tomatoes. At the beginning of the show, the host Kristina Bovina formulated the main idea of the show episode – to teach viewers how to check the quality of goods, read the labels properly, and avoid being caught by marketers’ tricks.
A team of employees of ECO-Culture holding – the largest enterprise in the country growing ecologically pure and perfectly flavorful vegetables – was invited as experts who told about the principles of growing, choosing, and storing tomatoes. In the company’s greenhouses, no chemicals are used as a principle, as they rely on biological methods only to protect plants from diseases and pests.
Alexander Mogilny, the chief agriculturist of one of the greenhouse complexes, told about the breeding of predatory macrolophus bug. This insect is known to be a natural enemy of whiteflies, aphids, and other tomato pests. Pollination of flowering plants is, at the same time, carried out by bumblebees, which are specially imported from the Netherlands. Turns out, these are the ideal pollinators for tomatoes, showing an efficiency rate of 98 percent.
Further in the episode, you can get acquainted with the path of grown tomatoes all the way to the consumer’s table. Once harvested in the greenhouse, vegetables are taken to the distribution center, where they undergo primary quality control. Visual evaluation of tomatoes is performed by a special department of the company. The director of the distribution center Maxim Fomin told how employees select the best tomatoes, removing any faulty vegetables, and how those are verified to be in compliance with GOST. After passing the manual inspection, tomatoes move on to the automatic control station and arrive at the packer, where the boxes are wrapped and soldered with a plastic film.
The following report was made by Alexey Shemetov, the company’s Vice President, who answered the questions of the host in the studio. The first question of Christina Bovina touched upon the quality of imported tomatoes, which can be found on store shelves of the country all year round. Alexey Shemetov explained that these vegetables, coming to Russia from Turkey and Morocco, are harvested still green so that they do not spoil during the transportation. The flavor characteristics of such products are by definition unable to be high – tomatoes do not have time to get enriched with sugars and other necessary nutrients. In addition, the producers tend to use a variety of techniques to preserve the vegetables’ commercial appearance. All of those factors cannot but affect the quality of the final product.
Meanwhile, ECO-Culture company relies upon a fundamentally different approach. Since the vegetables do not need to be shipped far away, tomatoes are harvested when they’re ripe, which has a positive impact on both their taste and health benefits. In some ways, greenhouse tomatoes, grown with the use of modern technology, can even surpass the ones grown in open ground. For instance, it is rather difficult to maintain ideal parameters for trace elements, temperature, and watering conditions in open field. Whereas in the greenhouse, all this is performed by the central computer.
Further topics of the conversation focused on the principles of choosing good tomatoes in the market or in the store, the dependence of the tomato on the size of the fruit, why it is better to buy tomatoes in packaging and what kind of packaging is more preferable, as well as how to store tomatoes at home and which varieties have a longer shelf life.
You can watch the new episode of Sreda Obitaniya show on the OTR channel.