It is assumed that the delicious tomato was brought to Santorini island between 1875 and 1880. There are two versions that tell how she found her way:
The first story states that Catholic monks brought the tomato seeds from Italy and the second version is that they were brought from the Suez region, where the pumice of Santorini was exported to build the canal.
The first tomato fields in Santorini were planted on the slopes of Mount Prophet Elijah. At that time, the tomatoes were brought to the north of the island on foot or with donkeys. Today's Oia back then was called Pano Meria, where the crop was sold to rich captains and shipowners.
Soon the local processing of cherry tomatoes began, they were dried in the sun or processed into tomato paste. This led to commercial use and the islaners exported the tomato products together with the local wines. A big advantage was that the tomato harvest did not take place in the same month as the vintage. Therefore, the farmers could look after both products equally.
The high demand quickly led to the necessity of industrialization, and by 1949 nine tomato-processing factories were built and commissioned in Santorini. Today, these factories are no longer working but the former Nomikos factory in Vlychada has been converted into a tomato museum and you can see how the organized processing took place.
When the earth trembled on June 9th, 1956, the tomato was the one saving the lives of many of the island 's inhabitants. Although it was only 5:12am in the morning, most farmers were already out of the house to work on the tomato fields before the sunrise and the heat would make working more difficult.
Nowadays only the Santorini Product Association Santo Wines and some local families still cultivate and process the tomatoes, but the most important is that this little, tasty tomato was approved as PDO – Protected Designation of Origin with the name “Tomato Santorinis”.