In 2006 Mark Christensen met up with Frank & Joy and encouraged them to become involved in an exciting new project that Mark had got under way. Mark is a Chartered Accountant for 4 days of the week and the other 3 days is the Research Director of the Central Tree Crops Research Trust. His research into apples indicated that commercial breeding programmes has led to diminished levels of nutrition in other fruits and vegetables.
Over the 2006-2007 season, Mark, Frank & Joy grew 60 varieties of heritage tomatoes and then chemically analysed the fruit to verify whether heirloom tomato varieties have superior levels of nutrition and are therefore much better for people to eat, than their modern hybrid counterparts.
Seed was saved from each heirloom variety to make available to people in the community, so that as many people as possible can have access to and grow (what we believe to be) healthier (nutritionally superior) tomato varieties.
In the 2007-2008 season, a further 80 varieties of heritage tomatoes have been grown and are now in the lab being analysed.
The chemical analysis has be undertaken by Dr Tony McGhie at Hort Research in Palmerston North. The analysis tested for levels of carotenoids as well as polyphenolics in the tomatoes. A significant carotenoid compound is lycopene, which has been proven to have anti-cancer effectiveness, particularly in prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men and the third most common cause of male cancer deaths. Our research is endeavouring to produce the particular tomato varieties that have the highest available levels that could be used as a preventative treatment for this cancer.
We have collaborated with an Italian group of researchers with similar aims and exchanged the most promising cultivars and these are being made available in our shop.
All our heritage tomato seeds are produced organically.
The seed is available in packets of 10 seeds for $4-00 including P&P. You can also e-mail us your order after checking the list for what is available.
PLEASE NOTE: Currently we are unable to sell plants and seeds outside of New Zealand because of import/export requirements.
Some of the pages are not finished and the whole site is very much a work in progress so please bear with us whilst we put the finishing touches together.