Posted by shiny on October 23, 2019 at 04:07 and edited at October 24, 2019 at 00:10


I'm growing a precious heirloom. The Island Bay tomatoes have a tale behind their journey to me. Some of the first Italian immigrants to this country settled in nearby Island Bay.

They'd concluded the tomatoes available in Aotearoa were not the tomatoes they knew and remembered from Italy. At some point, one man made the long and expensive journey back to Italy to get some tomato seeds. HE brought back seeds and grew many generations of lovely tomatoes. They're now considered their own type of tomato, the Island Bay tomato. They're rare and held by seed savers.

I acquired a packet of just six seeds. Only three have geminated.

Today it hailed. The garden is covered in ice. I can't plant these seeds outside yet - they'll be safe inside for a while longer. We are looking forward to the sauces we can make from these plants.

Some more info on these tomatoes: Gardening “kept Italy close” for Island Bay’s Italian immigrants

Here's some links to buy seeds at Koanga seed bank.

Book about Italians of Island Bay food and family - tastes and memories of Italy

a similar tale about Italian tomatoes in Nelson