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San Marzano VS San Marzano 2 - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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San Marzano VS San Marzano 2

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  • San Marzano VS San Marzano 2

    The SM seeds I have been buying lately have been marked San Marzano 2.

    Just wondering if there is a difference between SM and SM 2 tomatoes. The SM 2s I have been using produce tiny fruit so perhaps there is a difference between the two in other ways also.

    Could just be my growing process/environment though.

    About to plant some Amish Paste tomatoes to see what they turn out like compared with the SMs.

    / Rossco

  • #2
    Re: San Marzano VS San Marzano 2

    OK, after some reserch I found the following explanantion of the San Marzano 2..

    I have provide a small extract from an acticle which examines the decline of the SM tomato and the efforts that successfully brought the tomato back to popularity.

    I found it very interesting...


    Forsaken & Replaced

    Sometime during the 1970s, it all started to slip away. The Italian reports are vague and share some similarities as well as differences. But from what I could piece together, several factors came together at about the same time and the deck was stacked against the San Marzano. Apparently, San Marzano tomato crops were getting hit by bouts of disease (cucumber mosaic virus) and some pollution involving bromide, and Temik. New hybrid tomatoes could solve this disease problem and this seemed to play into the hands of the canning companies who wanted to buy more hybrids from farmers. San Marzanos are more delicate, require work by hand, and several pickings at vine ripeness- factors which raise the cost. The San Marzano was bred for thin skins so it would be easy to peel. Thin skinned tomatoes don't do well in commercial farming, trucking and processing operations.(12,13,16,17,18)

    As is so often the case, "big business" was blamed, and it was a fair claim. Quantity, not quality, and the bottom line drove the tomato business in Italy at that time.

    "...so when big business was able to select varieties more resistant and therefore more economical..." the San Marzano was gradually abandoned. (12) The size of the annual crop and land in use continued to decline year over year as hybrid's moved in to take their place.(9, 12, 16)

    Since then the canneries that produce "peeled" have started to buy elsewhere hybrids more resistant to mechanical processing and San Marzano native was in danger of extinction.(13)

    Big business turned it's back on the San Marzano tomato. (Remember that part about big business for later).

    Rescue and Redemption

    San Marzano test and comparison plot. Photo Credit: Department of Agriculture and Productive Activities - Se.SIRCA & Consortium for Applied Research in Agriculture, Dr. Patrizia Spigno (16), Campania Regional Govt website
    In the early 1990s, somebody in the Campania region woke up one day and said: "What the heck happened to the San Marzano tomato industry?" Maybe. Probably not. But a major shift in the attitude toward San Marzano tomatoes was coming.

    During the mid-90s, agronomists from the Cirio Research Center (Center Cirio Recirche) led by Dr. Patrizia Spigno went out to the remaining farms and fields of San Marzano tomato growers to search for the "true" San Marzano tomato. Finding cultivars that had all the characteristics and features of the old San Marzano would later become important for receiving EU recognition and certification. They identified 27 possible cultivars and grew them for 2 years. A the end of 2 years, 2 cultivars were singled out.

    The details are unclear from the Google Translate version of Italian documents, but the two deemed of most value to future crop strains were Cirio Selection 3, and the SMEC 20, which was renamed the San Marzano 2.(9,16)

    The choice of variety is a strategic factor for ensuring adequate levels of production and quality and thus ensure their viability and thus a more widespread culture, hence the need to frequently monitor the landscape variety to make available the best businesses Farmers genotypes St. Marzano. - 2004 Italian CRAA/Campania Region 18 page report. (16)

    July 10, 1996 is an important day for the San Marzano tomato and marks the beginning of it's comeback. On that date, the San Marzano tomato in the Agro Sarnese Nocerino region of Campania (see map) was granted Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status by the European Union. (19)

    REF: San Marzano Tomatoes: Growing, Varieties, History, Making Sauce & A Lot More...
    / Rossco


    • #3
      Re: San Marzano VS San Marzano 2

      Score one for flavor over convenience! Thanks so much for the info Rossco!!
      I wonder what climate these tomatoes love? Is it hot in San Marzano?

      Last edited by SCChris; 02-08-2010, 05:42 PM.


      • #4
        Re: San Marzano VS San Marzano 2

        First the Bufala ( Buffalo mozzarella in crisis after pollution fears at Italian farms - Times Online ) and now the San Marzano's.
        What's next? 00 flour?

        It's no wonder I never got the MAGIC flavor upon opening the several cans of differing brands. Maybe I'm just spoiled on Escalon. Wouldn't it be cool if they would plow under a few tons of Mt. St. Helen's ash and grow their own SM2's?

        I'm going to the pizza expo in Vegas. Maybe I can sleuth out some answers there.


        • #5
          Re: San Marzano VS San Marzano 2

          Yes - some ominous signs for the Italian pizza industry that's for sure. There was some speculation in another recent thread here that suggested that Caputo would be immune from contamination as it was sourced from various locations around the world.

          Saw some really good SM tomatoes grown in New Zealand - perhaps the fact that the country is largely a "volcanic" island could mean that it could become the new home of SM tomatoes one of these days. Business opportunity???

          Keen to hear any first hand info about this from the expo.
          / Rossco