Roma tomatoes have an elongated egg-like shape, and they grow to about three inches long. Their bright red, smooth and thick skin houses meaty flesh with few seeds, high sugar and acid levels, and low moisture content compared to other tomato varieties, ideal for cooking down into a tomato sauce or paste. The disease-resistant plants grow to an average of four to six feet, and because this is a determinate plant, the fruits will grow to a set height and ripen about the same time, producing one large crop typically toward the end of the season.
Roma tomatoes are a hybrid variety developed around 1955, and are believed to be a cross of the Pan American tomato with San Marzano, a paste tomato that was thought to have been brought into the United States by Italian immigrants. Roma tomatoes were bred specifically for their shape, disease resistance, and durability. With such qualities, the Roma tomato has been widely adapted throughout the United States, and does well against diseases common in cool, wet climates. However, too cold of soil and air temperatures can stress tomatoes plants, so it is crucial to plant outside only after the final frost.