Organic backyard tomatoes scored higher degrees Brix than those sold commercially

LOS ANGELES – August 29, 2011 – Backyard tomatoes grown in Farmscape, LLC raised-bed, organic gardens scored higher on average in sugar content than tomatoes purchased locally in Los Angeles. The non-scientific study used degrees Brix—a common food industry metric that measures food sugar levels—and compared tomatoes grown in four Farmscape organic gardens with those found at local area farmers markets and grocery stores. Farmscape tomatoes scored, on average, two points higher in degrees Brix than other tomatoes.

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“It is Farmscape’s mission to demonstrate how gardening in your own backyard produces just as good or better quality fruits and vegetables than what you may buy in the store,” says Farmscape CEO Jesse DuBois. “Not one store-bought tomato scored higher than our produce. We at Farmscape think that’s impressive.”

Using a commercially-available refractometer, the company measured the sugar content of nine different tomato varietals, including Sun Gold, Black Prince, Green Zebra, and Cherokee Purple. All of these tomatoes were grown in organic, raised-bed gardens installed and maintained by Farmscape in Los Angeles-area backyards. The company compared these results with the Brix levels of six randomly selected heirloom tomato varieties sold at a local farmers market, and three varietals sold at a local grocery store. On average, Farmscape tomatoes scored a 6.5 on the Brix scale, with some scoring as high as 9.0. The farmers market tomatoes scored 4.3 on average. Grocery store-purchased tomatoes scored only 4.0. No purchased tomato scored above a 5.0 Brix rating.

Brix is a measurement that represents the percentage of sugars found in fruits and vegetables. Commercial produce growers associate a high Brix number with perceived sweetness and improved flavor. High-Brix foods also have greater mineral density, including high concentrations of calcium.

“Our ‘worst’ tomato scored better than their ‘best’ tomato” says DuBois. “It’s not a scientific study by any means, but we are using the same tool expert winemakers use to measure the quality of their grapes. This fun test offers our customers more proof of what they already know. Backyard, organically-grown tomatoes just taste better.”

Farmscape got the idea to test their customers’ tomatoes when reading Jon Rowley’s food blog, The Beautiful Taste. Rowley, a former editor of Gourmet Magazine, held a 10.0 Brix Tomato Challenge earlier this year. Rowley offered a $100 prize for a commercially grown tomato that scored a 10.0 or higher on the Brix scale. The highest rated contestant was a Washington State German Red Strawberry tomato that scored an 8.2 Brix reading. Farmscape did not enter the competition.

About Farmscape

Farmscape (, based out of Los Feliz, Los Angeles, is an organic gardening social enterprise that empowers individuals to take control of their food supply by providing them with the necessary organic and sustainable tools to create a network of thriving, small-scale urban farms. Farmscape designs, installs, and maintains attractive, raised-bed, gardens in residential and community spaces around Southern California. In the spirit of the Victory Garden of the 1940s, Farmscape expects more from the average lawn and landscaping and is committed to transforming the way people think about gardening. It’s not just a leisure activity; it’s a way of life.

Rachel Bailin
Media Relations

Farmscape Homegrown Tomatoes May Be Better Than Farmers Market, Grocery Store Varietals After All

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