Campari Tomato – Facts, Info, and How to Grow
Facts About Campari Tomatoes
The Campari tomato plant is a member of the Solanum or Solanaceae family, as are belladonna, nightshade, pepper, and potato. The botanical name for Campari tomatoes is Solanum lycopersicum ‘Campari.’
It’s actually a hybrid tomato and it was first developed and introduced in the 1990s and was branded as the “tomato lover’s tomato.” It’s a convincing tagline and it worked extremely well – to the point that Campari tomatoes are now a favorite among consumers.
Campari Tomato – Seasonal Availability
You can purchase Campari tomato almost on a year-round basis, though there are occasional, relatively short gaps in terms of availability.
Are Campari tomatoes heirloom?
What are Campari tomatoes? Are they heirloom tomatoes? No, not heirloom. Rather, Campari tomatoes, or Compari tomatoes as some folks like to call them, are hybrid tomatoes that were bred to help fulfill certain needs of the late 20th-century tomato market. The seeds were developed by a company by the name of Enza Zaden which is a seed company in Holland.
Campari tomato size?
Campari fruits grow to around the same size as a golf ball. That’s about 1.13oz or 32g.
The plants grow to between six and eight feet in height (2 to 2.5m).
Campari tomato, as with all tomatoes, contains an array of vitamins and minerals. This includes lycopene, an antioxidant that is said to have the potential in helping to reduce the risk of cancer. Tomatoes in general have been linked to heart health and bone health, and scientific studies have shown that it can help lower total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol.
Additionally, tomatoes might be able to help prevent unwanted clumping of blood platelet cells. In turn, this means they could, in fact, lower the risk of heart problems such as atherosclerosis.
Geography and History of the Campari Tomato
Originally developed by a Dutch seed company, the Campari tomato is now owned and trademarked by the Mastronardi Produce Company of Ontario, Canada. Campari tomatoes only account for around two percent of the total number of tomatoes sold in the U.S. Nevertheless, for a single variety, their popularity is relatively high, given that there are more than 6,000 tomato varieties available on the market today.
Culture and Ethnicity of Campari Tomatoes
In 2002 when the Campari tomato made an appearance on the popular television series, “The Sopranos” it really started to gain some level of ‘fame.’ ‘The Sopranos’ was responsible for boosting the tomato’s level of respect, at least within the Italian-American community if not on a far broader scale. The following year, 2003, Campari tomatoes saw a fifty-percent increase in sales. With the amount of competition from so many other tomato varieties, the product placement on ‘The Sopranos,’ which was strategic in nature, certainly gave the Campari tomato a marketplace edge.
What are Campari Tomatoes Used For?
Tomatoes have few calories so they are the ideal fruit if you wish to lose weight.
Campari tomato calories?
One single full-grown ‘Campari’ tomato consists of approximately 16-18 calories.
Because ‘Campari’ tomatoes are sweet and have a juicy texture, they are ideal for salads, as an accompaniment to mozzarella (with olive oil drizzled over the top, of course), or a great combination with various specialty meats.
They are also ideal for salsas, and because they pair ever so well with basil and garlic, ‘Campari’ tomatoes are the ideal accompaniment to bruschetta (toasted Italian bread with loads of olive oil which is typically served with tomatoes or garlic, or a combination of both).
These tomatoes are also suitable for cooking, particularly so when a sweet taste is the desired end result. At the bottom of this page, you’ll find a list of recipe ideas that include Campari tomatoes, together with links to those recipes.
Are Campari tomatoes good for sauce?
Yes, they certainly are! Campari tomatoes are a very popular choice for making sauces because they have very high sugar content. Hence they are very sweet.
I wrote an article about the best tomato for sauces.
How to grow the tomato cultivar ‘Campari’?
Well, first things first…
Why would you want to grow the ‘Campari’ plant?
Campari Tomatoes Seeds For Sale D-47 (25+ seeds in a pack)
‘Campari’ is particularly disease resistant.
It’s fairly resistant to verticillium; it’s fairly resistant to fusarium; it’s highly resistant to late blight.
This is a great start, given that many tomato varieties put up little resistance to these molds, wilts, and blights.
While it grows best in a greenhouse, ‘Campari’ also does well inside the home, providing there is plenty of light. In which case, and given that one window in your home offers plenty of light, and there’s enough heat, ‘Campari’ tomatoes can even be grown during the winter months. That, of course, depends on where you are in the world. If you get six hours of sunlight or more daily, then you’re good to go with any tomato varieties, including ‘Campari’.
If there’s not enough daylight to grow your tomatoes indoors, use LED lighting to top up. Tomatoes will require about eight to nine hours of light each day to produce fruit. Not that you have to keep your LED lighting on for that length of time. This includes natural daylight.
If it’s of any interest, this very affordable LED grow light for indoor plants is ideal for tomatoes.
Of course, the plants are not going to grow to their regular size when sitting on a windowsill in the middle of winter. But they will produce a good supply of fruit when given the right growing conditions.
Anyway, irrespective of growing tomatoes indoors, the ‘Campari’ tomato cultivar has low acidity and high sugar levels. In turn, this means they are extremely sweet.
What else should you know about ‘Campari’ tomatoes?
The true hybrid ‘Campari’ is considered to be a “mid-season” tomato variety.
‘Campari’ is referred to as a large cherry tomato.
The fruit is deep red in color – around the size of a golf ball. The leaf is considered regular, and the ‘Campari’ tomato plant is indeterminate (vigorous growing). The plant reaches between six and eight feet in height.
A 10-gallon container is ideal for ‘Campari’ tomato plants. Why not a 5-gallon container as is recommended by very many other websites? The plants, after getting more mature, can start to fall over (as was pointed out by Susan Wojda in the comments below – thanks Susan!). Plus, there’s a requirement for more regular watering (and feeding) if a 5-gallon container is used. And what’s more, 5-gallon containers will likely restrict root size, plant size, and also restrict fruit harvest.
A store-purchased potting mix (no fertilizer added) is good for tomato plant growing in general.
Add proprietary tomato fertilizer (more on this below).
Typically, this species grows as an annual.
What that means is the plant completes its lifecycle within a single year.
The ‘Campari’ tomato cultivar is thought to have originated in Mexico.
It’s a relatively low-maintenance tomato plant and fairly easy to grow.
How about fertilizer for Campari tomatoes?
(Incidentally, this post contains links to products. Please make the assumption that at least some of the links may result in earning commissions. Thank you.)
If you’re intent on planting your tomatoes outside in the yard, if your soil is nutrient-rich, likely you’ll not require any fertilizer additions for your tomatoes.
If, on the other hand, your soil is not well-endowed with nutrients, you’ll want to add fertilizer so your tomatoes get the nutrients they require to perform at their best.
Ideally, you’ll want to have your soil tested to see how rich it is (or is not) in terms of nutrient content.
It’s not a complicated process – it’s not something you’ll need to don a lab coat to do.
There are a couple of ways to test soil for pH and for nutrient content:
1. Invest in a do-it-yourself soil testing kit.
The Luster Leaf 1605 Digital Soil Test Kit is pretty good. It has its flaws, but I’m not aware of any soil testing kit that does not come with flaws. This kit tests for pH (alkalinity/ acidity) as well as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (the three macronutrients) content on the soil.
2. Send a sample of soil to a testing lab.
This will be a good investment. That’s because you’ll get a more thorough analysis of your soil than you can get from any simplistic testing kit.
For the most part, soil testing labs in the US will charge around $8-$12 for a soil analysis. This will cover what you need – soil pH, available nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium, as well as organic matter content.
I’m unsure about the cost of sending a soil sample to a testing lab in the UK. In the UK you’d likely want to dispatch your soil sample to a botanical garden such as Kew, or Edinburgh Botanics in Scotland. Or indeed, send to an agricultural college.
After testing your soil, if you did have your soil tested, you’ll need to determine which tomato fertilizer is best.
A very good all-rounder and one that is very reasonably priced is Jobe’s Tomato Fertilizer Spikes.
When should you fertilize your tomato plants?
Fertilize your Campari tomatoes just after planting them.
Leave them to grow – leave them to begin setting fruit before fertilizing again.
Adding fertilizer can be done once every one to two weeks. Continue to fertilize until the plants stop bearing fruit (due to a change in weather conditions).
Make sure that you water your tomato plants well before you add fertilizer to the root zone. This will ensure that the roots are not burned by the fertilizer.
When to Plant Campari Tomato?
Planting times for tomatoes very much depends on where you are in the world. In the US that depends on USDA Zone.
Needless to say, tomatoes are warm-climate plants. This means they don’t tolerate frost at all.
In other words, you should plant your ‘Campari’ outside after any chance of spring frost has passed. Either that or you’ll need to provide frost protection if planted outside before any threat of frost has passed.
Here are the first and last annual frost dates for the various zones in the US according to USDA:
Zone 2: Final Frost Date is May 15-22; First frost date is September 1-8.
Zone 3: Final Frost Date is May 1-16; First frost date is September 8-15.
Zone 4: Final Frost Date is April 24 – May 12; First frost date is September 21 – October 7.
Zone 5: Final Frost Date is April 7-30; First frost date is October 13 – 21
Zone 6: Final Frost Date is April 1-21; First frost date is October 17-31.
Zone 7: Final Frost Date is March 22 – April 3; First frost date is October 29 – November 15.
Zone 8: Final Frost Date is March 13-28; First frost date is November 7-28.
Zone 9: Final Frost Date is February 6-28; First frost date is November 25 – December 13.
Zones 10-13: No frosts.
Can you grow ‘Campari’ tomato seeds in pots?
Yes, you can, but…
See, ‘Campari’ is a hybrid. When you save seed from the original ‘Campari’ tomato (if it is original – many are not) then you will not get the same tomato as the original. Hybrids don’t produce true from seed.
If that does not put you off, here’s the process for growing ‘Campari’ tomato seeds in containers:
Slice a single ‘Campari’ tomato into evenly sized slices of approximately quarter-inch thick. Likely you’ll get four individual slices. Place the slices on top of organic mix soil in a pot.
Cover over with your potting soil (half an inch thick). If too cold to place outside, place the pot in a warm window (typically south-facing window). Water the potting soil so it’s damp but not drenched.
Give it a week, perhaps a couple of weeks: you’ll see seedlings coming through – many of them. Allow these seedlings to continue to sprout until they reach 2-3 inches in height.
Choose the stronger of these seedlings and transfer to a small-sized pot (3-5 inch pots are good). Organic 5″ Jiffy peat pots are ideal for this.
Allow your seedlings to grow to a height of around 6 inches. Transfer to larger-sized pots or if preferred, grow your ‘Campari’ tomato transplants in the garden.
How to grow Campari tomatoes – ‘Campari’ tomato plants can reach up to nine feet in height. As such, it’s necessary to either cage or stake each plant individually. Tomato stacking ladders are an excellent alternative to staking and caging tomatoes. Essentially, stacking ladders work as a trellis for your tomatoes:
Delicious Recipes that Include Campari Tomatoes
Here’s a handful of utterly delicious recipes that include Campari tomatoes:
Parmesan Roasted Campari Tomatoes by Lauren Harris-Pincus
Stuffed Campari Tomatoes by Tina DeLeo (otherwise known as Cheftini)
The Ultimate Bruschetta Recipe by Mandy Landefeld
Stuffed Campari Tomatoes with Gorgonzola, Bacon, and Jalapeno by the Underwoods
BBQ Chickpea Sweet Potatoes with Organic Campari Tomatoes by Maggie Michalczyk