The Heritage Food Crops Research Trust (HFCRT)

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


Welcome to the Heritage Food Crops Research Trust

We are a New Zealand-based charitable Trust that researches and promotes the medicinal properties of plant foods.

Our aim is to identify and increase the availability of natural plant crops that could form part of a healthy diet that helps to inhibit cancer and chronic disease.

  1. Researches the chemical properties of certain varieties of vegetables and fruit. Our emphasis is on measuring the levels of natural compounds than can inhibit the onset of cancer.
  2. Promotes and make available certain plant varieties that contain high concentrations of health-giving natural compounds.

Find out more about the Heritage Food Crops Research Trust and its philosophy…


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 some plant varieties. The research has revealed very high levels of compounds that can inhibit the development of cancer. For example:

We promote apple and tomato varieties that have health benefits

The Trust educates the general public on beneficial plant varieties, and how you can use them to improve your lifestyle and health.

We source and cultivate rare plant varieties

  • The Trust is always on the lookout for rare and little-known crop and fruit varieties, many of which are heritage and heirloom varieties. Along with apples and tomatoes, we have collected rare varieties of beans, carrot, wheat, potatoes, kumara (sweet potato), capsicums, yams, kale and plums.
  • We collect seeds and other propagating material with an eye towards future research. Seeds are stored in a seed bank.
  • Among other discoveries, we have uncovered and widely propagated at least one hitherto-unknown apple variety called Monty’s Surprise.
  • 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:

  • Nurseries and orchards in New Zealand and as far afield as Australia, the UK, Europe and the United States.
  • The general public, particularly to those who are seeking a healthy diet that combats the onset of cancer and chronic disease.

The Trust is particularly committed to its local Whanganui region.  We have sponsored and distributed thousands of Monty’s Surprise trees free to the region’s residents.  We have a strong partnership with the Whanganui Regional Health Network (WRHN) in helping to manage chronic health conditions in high need populations such as Maori and Pacific Island people.

Contact the Heritage Food Crops Research Trust (HFCRT)

Contact us if you wish to enquire about:

  • Receiving seeds or other propagating material of rare or heritage food crops from our collection
  • Contributing heritage seeds or other propagating material
  • Our operations and promotional/educational activities
  • Offering skilled volunteer services to the Trust
  • Making a donation