When these indeterminate plum tomato varieties are grown in greenhouses, it is standard practice to prune back to three fruit per cluster to achieve uniform fruit size and larger fruit, with a target of six ounces per fruit.

The first year on an AEA nutrition management program, this grower observed that his plants had so much vigor and energy, he choose to skip cluster pruning, which greatly reduced labor requirements.

This resulted in a harvest of 6-7 fruit per cluster, all relatively uniform in size. The fruit uniformity and uniform ripening meant fewer hand harvest passes were required, further reducing labor costs.

The surprise was fruit weight. While the fruit was in the ideal size range, each fruit weighed an average of 8.3 ounces, instead of the 6 ounce target. As you know, this increase in fruit density correlates with improved flavor and aroma, lengthened shelf life and storability, and nutritional value.

Since the grower is paid by weight, the combination of more fruit per cluster, more weight per fruit, and reduced labor makes an immediate and dramatic difference in profitability.