Tomatoes have spread into cuisines around the world but most commercial varieties have a narrow genetic base and only grow well in optimum conditions often in greenhouses. As climate changes and interest in the fruit’s nutritional properties grows, drawing on the huge number of indigenous varieties in Mexico to meet these challenges is hugely important as they grow in a wide range of conditions and have different nutritional properties. That’s a central aim of a project I heard about at Lancaster Environment Centre* earlier this month from Jacob Phelps in a talk on “Charting a future for Mexico’s endemic tomatoes”.
In this interview, he explains more about the importance of Mexico’s significance for the future of tomatoes and the role of the indigenous people in breeding a huge range of varieties and why they need urgent work to ensure they are not lost.
*I’m an honorary teaching fellow at the centre