Why are my tomatoes starting to ripen with a pinkish-cranberry color instead of the usual orange to red?

by Beth
(Ephrata, PA)

Q. We have several tomatoes that are ripening, but they all look pink/cranberry. Typically the varieties we plant turn orange at first, then red. We live in PA, and have had high temperatures this summer. Rain has been inconsistent, so we have tried to keep up with regular watering. This is the first year this has happened. Is there something that we can do to prevent this and does this mean that the tomatoes are developing a fungus?

A. Compounds lycopene and carotene give tomatoes their color. When temperatures are higher than 85 degrees, tomatoes stop producing lycopene and carotene.

Lycopene produces a deep red color. Carotene produces an orange color. From your description, temperatures are inhibiting the production of carotene in your tomatoes.

Tomatoes ripen best when temperatures are between 68 and 77 degrees F. When temperatures are much cooler or warmer, ripening slows or halts.

The information you provide leads us to believe your tomatoes will ripen as the weather changes. There is no indication from your description that your tomatoes are suffering from a fungus.

Good luck and happy gardening!
Your friends at Tomato Dirt

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