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San Marzano

San Marzano Stats

Height: 48 - 72" (1.22-1.83 m)
Plant Spacing: 24 - 36" (0.61-0.91 m)
Row Spacing: 18 - 24" (0.46-0.61 m)
Days to Maturity: 69 - 90
Growing Habit: Indeterminate
Sun: Full Sun
Color: Red
Size: Medium
Shape: Medium
Genetic Type: Heirloom
Variety Type: Paste/Canning, Saladette/Pear, Slicers
Disease Resistance: N/A

Common Uses

Salads, sauces, tomato paste, dried, canned or eaten fresh, Italian dishes (particularly Neapolitan pizzas in Naples)

Other Names


Information for San Marzano

The San Marzano is a tomato cultivar named from where it originated. It is an all-around tomato with its seeds believed to have been gifts presented to the Kingdom of Naples from the Kingdom of Peru during the 1770s. This was dismissed as a myth however, since Peru had no king during that time of year.

The San Marzano seeds were first planted along Mount Vesuvius' volcanic soil in the area of the present town of San Marzano sul Sarno in the Italian region of Campania. The first documentation that introduced San Marzano tomatoes was in 1894's USDA Book of Agriculture.

San Marzano tomatoes grow on vigorous indeterminate vines that provide good cover, produce heavy yields and bring about clusters of deep red fruits. The fruits have thin and pointy features which are prized for their low seed count, resistance to cracking, and firm pulp.

San Marzanos have been characterized to have a strong taste credited to the rich, volcanic soil where they are grown and the Mediterranean subtropic climate of dry summers to cool, wet winters. Because of its history with Naples, San Marzanos are staple ingredients in making authentic Neapolitan pizzas.

San Marzano enthusiasts often can distinguish San Marzano tomatoes grown in the Valle del Sarno from those which are grown somewhere else. Tomato lovers of this variety describe these to be bittersweet harboring a low acid content. They're also mainly suitable for canning, drying, pureeing, or peeling. These tomatoes are often referred to as "The King of Peeled" due to the ease of getting its skin out.

Premium quality San Marzano tomatoes, when grown and processed in Valle del Sarno in Italy, are sold with its trademark label "D.O.P" that stands for Denominazione di Origine Protetta (Protected Designation of Origin) which signifies a specific region's local produce. Compared to most tomato heirloom varieties, San Marzano seeds are readily exported worldwide. During the 1920s and 1930s, its seeds were often found in Italian, French, and German seed catalogs.

A few known brands that carry San Marzanos include Cento, Nina, Vantia, and Strianese. While these tomatoes are grown in Italy, tomato growers worldwide also produce them commercially in smaller quantities. They are also grown in the Untied States, especially in many areas in California. There are different San Marzano varieties being grown and sold out there. These include Tuscany's San Marzano Redorta and the improved Super San Marzano variety.

Photo Credit: Flora Cyclam
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