5 July 2019

How did the Tamarillo get its name⁉️

Tamarillos are really popular in New Zealand. You will see the name on signs at Farmer’s Markets, growing in backyards across the country, and even hear about them in a variety of recipes. They are a staple in the New Zealand fruit bowl.

But, mention the word tamarillo to our neighbours across the ditch or further afield and You will probably get a blank look. It’s likely they will have no idea what you are referring to!

Although common across New Zealand, this delicious egg-shaped fruit wasn’t always known as a tamarillo, and is still called a tree tomato in many places around the world.

The New Zealand Tree Tomato Promotions Council (yes, there is such a thing!) decided they had a marketing problem. They thought this fruit was far too exotic and interesting to be lumped in with the common old garden tomato, so they decided to give it an equally exotic new name.

One of the council members, Mr. W. Thompson, proposed joining the Maori word “tama,” meaning leadership, with the Spanish word “Amarillo,” meaning yellow. And the tamarillo was birthed! Or rather, sprouted.
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