Marsan village, in the Gakh district of northern Azerbaijan, is famous for tomato production. During Soviet times, various tomato varieties were grown in the kolkhoz (collective farm), so most people did not grow them in the gardens. But one family safeguarded the seeds that were inherited from their grandparents and then shared them with a few families who wanted to cultivate tomatoes. According to local people, the Marsan tomato has slowly become a sort of “local brand” thanks to the selection work of farmers in the village.
The Marsan tomato is known for growing into large sizes without any fertilizer. The plants reach a height of about 2 meters, the fruits are spherical and about 10-13 centimeters in diameter. The red skin is thin and delicate, so the ripe tomatoes cannot be moved around well. This variety is sweet and juicy. The seeds are collected from the first tomatoes of the season, which tent to be larger. The seedlings are planted in the fields in May, and harvest continues until the first frosts of autumn. The soil is not fertilized, no pest management is required, and the plants should be watered sparingly so as not to compromise the tomatoes’ sweet flavor. Only a few families continue to grow the Marsan tomato, exclusively for their own consumption. It is used fresh in salads and other dishes; the biggest fruits are used to make tomato sauce and smaller fruits are preserved in marinade with other local vegetables.