SARATOGA, CALIFORNIA, July 23rd 2013 – This backyard gardener has found a way to grow buffalo mozzarella balls along with various heirloom tomatoes on the same plants. He prefers to be unnamed at this time until he perfects his single-plant caprese salad technique. Meanwhile, the first summertime harvest is literally rolling off the vines of his jungle-like collection of mutant hybrid tomato-mozzarella plants.
Buffalo mozzarella growing on heirloom tomato plants in Saratoga back yard
In this exclusive interview, the gardener explained that the trick was to develop a tiny mozzarella seed-ball that was nucleated on bits of leftover Passover matzoh. After sterilizing with ultraviolet light, the seed balls were grafted on to existing heirloom tomato plants after the first batch of fruit was set. With the right combination of tomato variety and hydroponic fertilizer, the balls grew steadily at about the same pace as the adjacent tomatoes.
Depending on the rootstock, different tomato varieties grow different size mozzarella balls. He has found that Sweet 100 tomatoes are best for growing Ciliengine, Hawaiian Pineapple and Cherokee Purple tomatoes are best for growing Bocconcini, and Caspian Pink tomatoes are best for growing Ovolini. He is still working on growing Burrata mozzarella – apparently he has not yet found a fertilizer that generates a creamy texture inside the balls. Now that biotech engineers have sequenced the Genovese Italian basil DNA, he is hopeful that he can inject basil DNA into the tomato seed to create a single plant Caprese salad.
His motivation to develop these plants was a combination of gastronomic and economic. He explained that his family likes the varieties of tomatoes and basil from his garden, but they were going broke buying mozzarella twice a week. His wife put her foot down when he proposed getting an Italian buffalo for their fenced-in back yard.
After tinkering with a variety of different solar panels technologies for years, this gardener observed that tomato plants are essentially highly efficient solar collectors that convert sunlight into carbohydrates and a whole spectrum of nutrients. They are also arguably both fruits and vegetables. But individual tomato plants are incomplete as an appetizer-salad system, hence his interest in a more integrated approach.
“I can tell you that these single plant tomato-mozzarella hybrids are incredibly convenient. It reminds me of the biblical description of mannah from heaven. It may all be related to the same phenomenon – heck, mannah, matzoh, mozzarella all sounds the same. This mozzarella should also be kosher, although we would need approval from the relevant authorities before we brand a U on the package.”
He’s experienced no problems yet with backyard pests. There are no native mozzarella predators in Saratoga. Birds, squirrels and bugs have shown zero interest in the plants, perhaps because dairy products are not part of their normal diet. On the other hand, a well-known Los Gatos wine bar has been poking around for a more localized source of ingredients for their popular mozzarella di bufala salad.