( Courtesy Cornell AgriTech )

New York farmers have access to new organic grape tomato varieties to fill the demand for local high-value produce.

Phillip Griffiths, associate professor of plant breeding and genetics at Cornell AgriTech, has released a collection of organic grape tomato varieties, according to a news release.

The release said the new Galaxy Suite of five grape tomato varieties includes:

  • The yellow fingerling Starlight;
  • The orange grape-shaped Sungrazer;
  • The small, red, grape-shaped Comet;
  • The marbled and striped Supernova; and
  • The dark purple, pear-shaped Midnight Pear.

The varieties are available now from High Mowing Organic Seeds, according to a news release.

“These varieties are ideal for organic and conventional growers, or hobby gardeners, and will make a great contribution to the diversity and quality available for small-fruited tomato medleys,” Griffiths said in the release. 

“They provide high flavor options with good shelf life and aesthetics in high-yielding plants for growers.”

He started this project in response to consumer demand for more local, organic products with better flavor, color, quality and uniqueness, Griffiths said in the release.

The Galaxy Suite combines consumer-quality traits with better yields, uniformity and firmness to stand up to transportation, according to a news release.

The release said the new varieties also perform well in high tunnels — greenhouses that many New York growers use to extend the short upstate growing season.

The Galaxy Suite of grape tomatoes has already sparked interest from Wegmans, according to the release. The New York-based retailer performed small field trials on its organic farm last season.

“They grew and produced well, and Phillip’s focus on developing varieties that produce high flavor, without jeopardizing productivity, really came through,” Jess Crabtree, growing manager at the Wegmans Organic Farm & Orchard, said in the release. 

“Our customers desire fresh, local produce that is both organically and sustainably grown, so any new varieties that are developed to produce well in the Northeast and can experience an extended growing season through high-tunnel production mean good things for New York state growers and our customers.”