With sufficient effort, Andean countries could be at the forefront of an expanding international commercial industry. Colombia has already begun exporting a juice concentrate as well as fresh fruits. If the plant is given research and promotion, this could spark a new Andean industry. Cooperatives of small growers may be particularly adapted to providing the fruits.
Other Developing Areas. The tamarillo has much promise for frost-free, subtropical, and warm-temperate areas. A few plants in the home garden can add good nutrition and a novel taste to the family diet. It is particularly good for home use because it is easily propagated, and when grown in warm regions it provides fruits year-round. Also, the trees are very high yielding. Undoubtedly, it has an important future in cool highlands of Third World countries, but true frost-free lands that are not too hot for this plant are uncommon.
Industrialized Regions. New Zealand's selection of attractive cultivars and the development of shipping and storage techniques has resulted in a relatively obscure fruit entering international trade within the past decade. This experience is demonstrating that there is a real future for the tamarillo. Research is needed, however, to improve production, particularly in such matters as fruit type and palatability, virus control in the orchards, and yield variability (there is a specific need to create uniform fruit set).
The rather acid taste of the fruits arriving in international markets is hindering greater acceptance of the tamarillo as a fruit to be eaten raw. Most likely, sweeter fruit will soon become available from selected cultivars or from improved handling, and this will certainly increase its popularity. As they enter the markets and are promoted, tamarillos could become a common commodity in the produce markets of North America, Europe, Japan, and other regions.
The richly colored juice of tamarillos (especially of the deep red types) seems to have much potential for blending with grapefruit and other juices whose consumer appeal may be increased by the added color.
Ripe tamarillos have fine eating qualities and can be used in many ways. They are usually cut in half, and the flesh scooped out. As with common tomatoes, the seeds are soft and edible. The skin is easily removed—it peels off when dipped briefly in hot water. The fruits are especially good on desserts such as cakes and ice cream, in fruit salads, or (like tomatoes) in sandwiches and green salads. The whole