Kids’ story pro­motes her­itage toma­toes


‘‘Jes­sica’s pet tomato gave her heaps of golden-or­ange toma­toes.

‘‘For weeks Jes­sica and her fa­ther ate toma­toes in soup, sand­wiches, sal­ads, quiche and of course, home-made tomato sauce.

‘‘They had so many they gave ex­tra ones away…….’’

And so be­gins the chil­dren’s story Jes­sica, the Seed Saver.

Un­for­tu­nately, Jes­sica re­alises too late all her home-grown her­itage toma­toes have gone. The il­lus­trated story is about her search for some­one who has saved some of the tomato seeds.

The book in­cludes recipes, in­struc­tions for plant­ing seeds and for seed sav­ing, as well as a packet of her­itage golden-or­ange Tan­gella tomato seeds.

Janet Brad­bury, who has re­cently re­turned to live in Palmer­ston North, had writ­ten and il­lus­trated the book in re­sponse to a re­quest from Mark Chris­tensen, di­rec­tor of the Her­itage Food Crops Re­search Trust (HFCRT) in Whanganui.

The Trust has been re­search­ing plants and fruit, in­clud­ing toma­toes, to find va­ri­eties which are best for hu­man health.

Be­cause food has been al­tered dra­mat­i­cally over the last few hun­dred years, many of the orig­i­nal health ben­e­fits from fruit and veg­eta­bles have been re­duced.

Re­search on the golden-or­ange her­itage tomato had shown the pres­ence of a par­tic­u­lar type of ly­copene - a pow­er­ful anti-ox­i­dant eas­ily ab­sorbed by the hu­man body when eaten raw.

The mod­ern red tomato by com­par­i­son, needs to be cooked to im­prove ly­copene ab­sorp­tion.

A chil­dren’s book was seen as

an ideal way of shar­ing this in­for­ma­tion.

Jes­sica and the Golden Orb - the first of the two books com­mis­sioned by HFCRT - sets the scene for the seed saver se­quel.

Pro­duced in 2015, two thou­sand copies were given away

through­out the Whanganui com­mu­nity.

Jes­sica, the Seed Saver is also free, and copies will be avail­able at the ENM stall be­tween the duck pond and chil­dren’s play­ground at Es­planade Day on Sun­day Fe­bru­ary 19.


Au­thor and il­lus­tra­tor Janet Brad­bury with her two chil­dren’s books about her­itage seed sav­ing.

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