This Exists: Plant That Grows 'Ketchup' and 'Fries'

'TomTato' now available in US
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2015 8:13 AM CST
Updated Jan 10, 2015 10:30 AM CST

Tomatoes and potatoes go together like, well, ketchup and fries—so why not grow them together? A hybrid plant known as the "TomTato" or, yes, "Ketchup 'n' Fries," allows you to do just that, and it's now available in the US after first being released in the UK. The plant combines a vine growing cherry tomatoes with roots growing white potatoes—but it's not genetically engineered. Rather, it's created by grafting, in which the tomatoes are "spliced onto potato rootstock," the Oregonian explains, noting the process works well for tomatoes and potatoes because they are closely related. Technically, you could try to do it at home, but it requires the plant stems you're joining be the same thickness.

SuperNaturals Grafted Vegetables is the company handling the grafting process in the US, and home gardeners can purchase the non-GMO plant in a 2.5-inch pot from the Territorial Seed Company. "People have been grafting tomatoes and potatoes for a while, but mostly as a novelty," Territorial's marketing director tells OPB, noting that before this plant was commercialized, it was necessary to research varieties to find ones that "complement each other well." Now, purchasers can expect to harvest some 500 red cherry tomatoes and 4.5 pounds of potatoes from each plant. Back in 2013 when the plant was only available in the UK, Stephen Colbert featured it on his "The Craziest F#?ing Thing I've Ever Heard" segment, calling it "unnatural" and noting, "The only time tomatoes and potatoes should meet is at the bottom of a Styrofoam clamshell." (Read about a tree that grows 40 different fruits.)

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