Kumamoto Prefecture is the number one producer of tomatoes in Japan. Shipments start around October, and until around June, tomatoes grown in greenhouses in the Yatsushiro area go to the market, and then gradually change to tomatoes from Aso. Therefore, it seems to be a tomato kingdom where you can eat delicious tomatoes all year round. Yatsushiro was originally a reclaimed land, so there are differences in the soil. The salted tomato that was born from that is sour at first, followed by sweetness that fills your mouth, and finally you can feel a slight salty taste. The pioneer of salt tomato production, Hajime Matsumura Engei in Mizushima Town, Yatsushiro City, farming is not a profitable business, but it is a business that must not be stopped. I always seem to think so.
Salt tomatoes are specially cultivated tomatoes that are cultivated in reclaimed land with high salinity in the soil, such as the Yatsushiro region of Kumamoto Prefecture, and have a sugar content of 8% or more. It is as sweet as a fruit and is the original fruit tomato. Land with high salinity is inherently unsuitable for the normal growth of crops, and plants often die because they cannot absorb enough water through their roots, just as they suffer from salt damage. However, by taking advantage of the environment and reducing the water content of the salted tomato to the point where it is just about to die, it seems to grow into a fruit tomato that is extremely concentrated in sweetness and umami.
Kumamoto Prefecture Yatsushiro Uki specialty “salt tomato” has been registered as a brand on October 7, 2021 as “Kumamoto salt tomato” under the geographical indication protection system that registers regional specialties nationwide. The Geographical Indication (GI) Protection System is a system in which the government protects the names of agricultural, forestry and fishery products and foodstuffs that have traditions nurtured in the region and whose high quality is associated with the place of production as intellectual property. The aim is to stop the increase in counterfeit goods, which has become more serious in recent years, to protect the interests of producers, and to increase the reliability of specialty products themselves. It has been in operation since 2015 in Japan, and has already been introduced in more than 100 countries around the world.