Welcome to Ground Zero of the Modern European Tomato

Kadir van Lohuizen / NOOR for Time

An employee at Tomatoworld in Honselersdijk harvests the crop

It is still a matter of dispute whether it was the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés or Christopher Columbus who deserves credit for bringing the tomato from the New World back to the Old, but once transported the European tomato made itself at home. The earliest reference by an Italian herbalist, in 1544, referred to it as a "golden apple"; the French called tomatoes "love apples." Mediterranean countries in particular had the sun, the soil and the skill to cultivate luscious fruits (yes, it is a fruit), and Italy, home of a thousand variations of tomato sauce, eventually became the largest producer...

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