I've pinpointed the whitish band I'm talking about with two lines on the leftmost picture below:

enter image description here

In my opinion, the whitish band appears due to overuse of fertilizers (nitrates?) in growing tomatoes. But am I right? Do you happen to have a picture of a sliced tomato grown without any fertilizers?


The amount and colour of the flesh under the skin of a tomato is more or less entirely due to the variety of tomato being grown.There is no 'white band' inside a cherry tomato, even though they are commercially grown and sold in the millions, but the variety usually sold in the UK as 'salad tomatoes', which look like the ones in your picture, do have this paler band and thicker flesh on the inside. There's even a tomato with much more solid flesh and barely any pulp and seeds, grown specifically for commercial sandwich makers to use, and I've never noticed much of a paler coloured band with those either.

  • I can't talk of cherry tomatoes, since I've never sliced them. The tomatoes from my local supermarkets always have this paler colored band inside. And most people selling tomatoes on local farmer's markets also offer tomatoes with these paler colored bands. But the tomatoes from those RARE farmer's markets sellers who claim they have not fertilized them, look almost entirely red inside (surely, no colored band inside). And people I've talked to who grow tomatoes FOR THEMSELVES and do not use fertilizers, claim their tomatoes are almost entirely red inside (except for the ovary part). – Eugene Str. Aug 16 '16 at 20:25
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    The varietal name should be on the packet at the supermarket - make a note of it and then ask the farmers market sellers what variety theirs are. I've never grown the type of tomato shown in your picture, they're tasteless, I used to choose to grow Piccolo or cherry tomatoes. And fed them tomato food weekly... – Bamboo Aug 16 '16 at 20:34
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    I definitely agree that some varieties are not prone to this, but I think there are other contributing factors, too. I've grown a fair number of tomato varieties and I haven't seen that on any of them, yet, to my knowledge. I'll have to pay more attention. We could experiment by finding specific varieties where that is known to happen and have a grow-out (and test for all the conditions people suspect). I should pick some green tomatoes and refrigerate them, and see if they get that if/when they ripen. The pictured tomatoes look like they were cool when ripened. – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx Aug 20 '16 at 9:33
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    @Shule - I agree that this whitish band is more likely to be related to temperature rather than over fertilization (other than the obvious varietal link) based purely on instinct really - grow lighting and greenhouse in winter does not fully replicate a tomato growing in warm temperatures in sunlight. No grower will over fertilize, they'll only give optimum amounts, otherwise they're wasting money. – Bamboo Aug 20 '16 at 10:16
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    @Shule - been checking mine too - shop bought Cheshire, Piccolo, plus another specialist variety (can't remember the name), not a white band in site - its only on the cheap, fleshy, usually hard/firm cored and unflavoursome 'salad' toms in packs of six from the shop, like the ones in the picture above – Bamboo Sep 4 '16 at 10:21

I think it's more likely simply a manifestation or vestige of commercial tomatoes being picked green, and homegrown or closer to homegrown tomatoes being picked ripe, rather than ANYTHING to do with fertilizer. While the commercial crop will eventually turn red, it's not the same as vine-ripened.

I'd make a reasonable bet that the folks at the farmers market are fertilizing - just organically. "Unfertilized tomatoes" (planted in raw ground with no help) don't amount to much. Planted in a rich garden/field, it's disingenuous to call them unfertilized. That soil didn't magically get rich all by itself.

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    That was my first suspicion (being picked green), but then I realized that I've never seen that white band on any tomatoes I've grown myself (although I have seen white veins), even when they're picked green and ripened indoors. It could have something to do with the temperatures they're stored at (I get the impression those tomatoes were stored at colder temperatures to make them last longer, even at the sacrifice of taste), or a reaction to pesticides or fruit wax, or ethylene not natural to that tomato. Or, maybe fruit dye. – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx Aug 20 '16 at 8:33

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