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.