The Heritage Food Crops Research Trust (HFCRT)

Researching and promoting the Health Benefits
of Plant-based Food.


Research into health-giving compounds of apple and tomato varieties

We have commissioned organisations such as Plant and Food Research, a New Zealand Crown Research Institute, to assess certain natural compounds in plant varieties. The research has revealed very high levels of phytonutrients that improve human health;

  • An outstanding heritage apple, Monty Surprise, contains high levels of  phytonutrients that through cell culture testing have been shown to be highly effective at suppressing the proliferation of  cancer cells, further research information – Monty’s Research
  • Some  heritage varieties of golden/orange tomato contain a particular form of lycopene that is easily absorbed into the body when eaten raw (unlike modern red tomatoes which need to be cooked to facilitate absorption) .

We promote apple and tomato varieties that are the best in the world for human health 

The Trust works with everyone to grow, save, consume and distribute these beneficial plant varieties for health.

We source and cultivate rare plant varieties

  • The Trust is always on the lookout for heritage fruit and vegetable varieties that may have superior health benefits.
  • Along with apples and tomatoes, we have collected varieties of beans, carrot, wheat, kumara (sweet potato), kale, plums, prunes, pears, peaches and feijoas.
  • We collect seeds and other propagating material with an eye towards future research.
  • Seeds are stored in a seed bank.
  • We cultivate and conserve these plant varieties at our Whanganui, New Zealand, operations base that includes greenhouses, a nursery and an orchard.
  • We practice organic gardening techniques.


We supply beneficial plant crop varieties to growers and the community. 

The Trust distributes seeds, seedlings and other propagating material to:

  • Motivated and health conscious general public with particular emphasis on distributing in community settings, cultural settings and educational organisations
  • The distributions have been particularly helpful to those who are seeking a healthy diet to prevent the onset of cancer and chronic conditions
  • Nurseries, orchards and seed saving organisations in New Zealand and globally.

The Trust is particularly committed to its local Whanganui region.  We have sponsored and distributed thousands of Monty’s Surprise trees and golden/orange tomato plants free to the region’s residents.  We have a strong partnership with the many diverse communities in our region who assist with the distributions.

Contact the Heritage Food Crops Research Trust (HFCRT)

Contact us if you wish to inquire about:

  • Receiving seeds or other propagating material from our collection
    • Golden/orange tomato seeds (send a stamped self-addressed envelope)
    • Climbing beans (send a stamped self-addressed bubble bag)
    • Grafting material (limited supply)
    • Trees for collection are bare-rooted (winter only)
  • Contributing heritage seeds or other propagating material
  • Our operations and promotional/educational activities
  • Offering skilled volunteer services to the Trust
  • Making a donation