The history behind a number of crop plants.
Looking at where they originated, their domestication, the introduction of these crops to Europe, how European attitudes to them changed over the centuries and ultimately how our changing demands have influenced the plants themselves.
Tomatoes are thought to have first grown in western South America, in the region of modern day Peru and Ecuador. Wild species are still found in these areas as well as further south in Chile and Bolivia.
Tomato plants are found in all sorts of environments from the deserts and dry valleys found on the Western slopes of the Andes to fog saturated Cloud Forests and even above the snowline on the Andean mountains. Though most wild species prefer dry conditions.
Very varied in size, colour and appearance, most wild tomatoes don’t look anything like those you would buy in a shop. They are usually about a centimetre across, green in colour and covered with fur. What’s more their taste can be distinctly bitter and unpleasant. Which of these wild tomatoes (if any) gave rise to the modern tomato is not certain but it probably developed from the species Solanum pimpinellifolium, which looks and tastes more like the tomatoes we are used to.