GRAINGER COUNTY, Tenn. — With summer in sight, it's time to "ketchup" on the great tomato debate.
Whether on a burger or eaten straight with some salt, our newsroom swears the tomatoes of today just don't taste the same as they used to.
Turns out, we're mostly right.
"The flavor, you know, it's just not nowhere comparable to what we're growing," Luke Stratton, a fifth generation Grainger Co. tomato farmer, said. "As a boy growing up, what we're all accustomed to growing and what made Grainger County famous is a thin-skinned tomato."
Stratton says he still grows the old kind of tomatoes, but most farmers don't.
"The major seed companies you know aren't carrying the varieties that we're accustomed to growing in years past," he said.
But its not Big Seed out to ruin our taste buds, there's a reason for the change.
"They're tougher than they used to be... a lot of these are packing varieties," Neal Denton with the UT Extension office said. He says tougher skin makes it easier to ship and farmers pick them earlier too.
"It doesn't have as much flavor and it's because it doesn't have as many sugars in the fruit because it was picked green," he said.