Q. Dear Twig: How many colors of tomatoes are there?
A. The easy answer is, more than one. Tomatoes come in colors besides red.
One seed catalog lists red, pink, green, brown, black, orange and purple as the main ones.
A second catalog lists red, pink, yellow-orange and purple-black as the main ones plus seven more — blue, peach, white, orange-red, olive-green, yellow-green and lemon-yellow — in a cool group of "others."
And that's not counting tomatoes that have two colors on them, such as red with yellow stripes, yellow with red stripes and pink with gold stripes, which would make a nice Baja shirt, except for the wet squishy glop in the pocket. In other news, a red one with White Stripes would rock.
That said, commercial processing tomatoes, grown in big fields and made into ketchup and so on, stick to a standard color: red, like my face when I sit on a tomato, which, yes, it would seem I just did.
Next: What's behind the colors? My own behind is on top of them.
P.S. Got tomatoes? Get tips on using them at http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/5532.html.
The link is to an Ohio State University Extension fact sheet called "Selecting, Storing and Serving Ohio Tomatoes," which if you want to you can print it and share it with one of your parents, or you can print it and sneak it onto their desk or the kitchen counter if you don't want to look like you're volunteering to help or something, though if you did they'd probably appreciate it, unless you happen to "serve" a tomato at your little brother's head.
Also try http://ohioline.osu.edu/5-a-day/tomato.html.
"Smart Stuff with Twig Walkingstick" is a weekly feature for children (ages 9+; 4th grade reading level) about science, nature, farming and the environment. Online at http://extension.osu.edu/~news/archive.php?series=science.
Brought to you by your scientific friends at The Ohio State University — specifically, at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) (http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu) and with Ohio State University Extension (http://extension.osu.edu). OARDC and OSU Extension are the research and outreach arms, respectively, of Ohio State's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
Written by Kurt Knebusch of OARDC and OSU Extension. For details, to ask Twig a question, and/or to receive the column free by mail or e-mail, contact Kurt at CommTech, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, OH 44691; email@example.com; (330) 263-3776.