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Do You Know Your Red Devils from Your Conchita’s or Your Classic Plums?

Date: 20/05/2004 | Posted by John Garton
If the answer is no, then why not let one of Jersey’s largest tomato growers explain more? Stanley Payn, a member of the Genuine Jersey Products Association, will be giving shoppers in Checkers this Saturday (22nd May) the chance to savour and learn more about the wide variety of tomatoes he grows at Fauvic Nurseries to mark British Tomato Week.

The in-store tasting at La Rue des Pres will begin at 9am and follows a very successful Jersey Royal demonstration held in Checkers earlier this month.

Fauvic Nurseries, in Grouville, which supplies tomatoes for Sainsbury’s supermarkets in the United Kingdom, produces more than 2,000 tonnes of tomatoes every season. Tomatoes are grown from February to November and all the varieties grown at Fauvic are ripened on the vine for a better flavour, with many also still packed on the vine.

Stanley says: “In recent years tomatoes have experience something of a revival and that is largely due to the huge variety now available in the supermarkets. The days when you could only buy the classic tomato are over – now consumers have a wide variety of choice and because of the different flavours and tastes they can be used in so many ways.”

The varieties Fauvic produces are: Aranca, Elegance, Cocktail Plum, Classic Plum, Conchita, Baby Plum and Red Devils.

Stanley says: “We use bumblebees to pollinate we control pests biologically so that we grow the most environmentally friendly tomatoes that we can. There are more than 2,000 bumble bees in the glass houses at any one time and the bees will pollinate over 50 million flowers during the season.”

Produce controller for Checkers Steve Martel says: “Because the range of tomatoes is now so great we want to give our shoppers the chance to experience the different flavours and varieties. Instead of buying the same type of tomato every week we hope this tasting will give people the chance understand more about what’s available.

“Our shelves are now stocked with a huge variety from plum, beef, cherry and round tomatoes. Tomatoes which are sold on the vine are one of the biggest growth areas and we hope Saturday’s tasting will give shoppers the chance to try something different and meet one of Jersey’s most successful growers.”

As well as tasting good and being versatile, tomatoes also contain lots of health protecting nutrients - vitamins, minerals and natural pigments, not least lycopene, which makes ripe tomatoes red. The British Tomato Growers Association claims there is a lot of medical evidence that lycopene can reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.