The Power’s in the Purple

By Lee Anna Sherman

A new type of tomato that’s “as black as an eggplant” is being touted for its health-enhancing properties. Poetically named “Indigo Rose,” the new variety was bred at OSU as a powerful source of antioxidants — micronutrients known to fight the harmful “free radicals” implicated in cancers and other diseases. It’s the purple pigment, in fact, where the beneficial compounds called “flavonoids” reside.

But does it taste good? Yes, according to horticulturist Jim Myers. “It has a good balance of sugars and acids and tastes just like a tomato,” he says.

Indigo Rose has been a long time in the making — some 40 years, in fact. Its recent arrival in Oregon gardens and supermarkets can be traced to its exotic genesis in two wild species, one from Chile and the other from the Galapagos Islands.