The Newstead Tomato

Paddy and I have just planted some tomato seeds with a unique heritage, called ‘The Newstead Tomato’. Thanks to Dawn Angliss who passed on the seed and the story. Linda Ivanov tells us that her father David Clarke (1921-2008) found a plant growing along the Loddon River in 1985 and saved the seed from it. And kept growing and saving it. Now we are the keepers of the seed, at least 27 generations later. The best way to save seed is to grow it, so we’ve nervously sown the seeds (kept a few aside just in case…) and perhaps there’ll be fruit to taste at our Dinner next year. But first things first – let’s hope it germinates!

We’ve also planted 20 or 30 heritage tomato seedlings in the bed where the broadies produced their prolific best. Mary has posted a lovely broad bean recipe for those of us who still haven’t tired of the taste (though double peeling is a neccessity now and most of the communal broadies have ended up blanched and snap frozen in readiness for our Dinner). Siberian, Black Russian, Quickpick, Kotlas (looks very potato-ish) Tommy Toe, Swift and some ‘pot luck’ compost bin discoveries make up the tomato bed. Thanks to Margot for many of the progeny. Tiny basil seedlings went in as well, trying their luck with the slaters.

Dawn and other HIstorical Society members have also been busy locating some background to our garden – turns out there is a heritage of food production at our site, including a 2 1/2 lb (1.34kg) pear! More on that next blog, suffice to say that we now know whose kitchen crockery, bottles and stonewear we’ve been uncovering as we dig up the soil. And the origins of the mysterious foundation stones under our plot. And the ‘well’ which turns out to have been the first windmill in Newstead.

From the Garden Festival we’ve had several enquiries and we welcome new member Diana Bourguignon. East Wimmera Health’s Donald and St Arnaud Community/Kitchen Gardens also visited us recently to share garden notes. Kerry Punton and her group of gardeners left us with a homegrown gift – a Wimmera grown tomato seedling!

So bring on the chutney, sauce and relish makers.

And don’t forget Saturday’s Produce Exchange, 10.30am outside the Red Store in Newstead’s main street – broad beans anyone?

One thought on “The Newstead Tomato

  1. Saide of Sandon says:

    I find this history stuff so fascinating and our very own Newstead tomato with a 27 generation heritage is rather impressive.

    Shall try the new broadbean recipe if I have the patience to double peel. I did double peel some young small broadies on the weekend for a raw salad, with lemon juice and olive oil. They were so delicious and my liver heaved a sign of relief, too.

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