In her book, Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties (reviewed in EDN 87), Carol Deppe mentions an open-pollinated, orange-fleshed tomato variety called ‘Caro Rich.’ The book states that ‘Caro Rich’ is second only to carrot as a source of beta-carotene (Vitamin A). It is an indeterminate variety, so the vines will grow as long as the plant is alive and will likely require trellis support. ECHO’s seed bank now carries ‘Caro Rich’ for members of our network interested in experimenting with a trial packet.
You may be interested in the variety for its own merits. Alternatively, you might want to take it a step further by using ‘Caro Rich’ to enhance Vitamin A in locally grown red tomato varieties. Deppe suggests taking the best red-fruited varieties that are available in an area and crossing them with ‘Caro Rich’ several times to obtain a more nutritious tomato.
Below are some links I also came across that show how to go about crossing tomato varieties by hand. If ‘Caro Rich’ is considered the pollen parent, you would need to: 1) remove the stamens from a ‘Caro Rich’ flower; 2) remove the anthers (emasculate) from a flower of the red-fruited variety you are working with; and 3) gently brush the stamens you removed from ‘Caro Rich’ against the now-isolated (because anthers were removed) stigma of the flower on the red-fruited variety. If you would like to learn more, below are some helpful links.
- Plant Breeding as a Hobby: www.aces.uiuc.edu/vista/htmlpubs/PLBREED/plbreed.html
- YouTube showing how to emasculate a tomato flower for hand-pollination: www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBNaV-Q9Mc0 (note other short clips on pollination that are linked with this video)
- Steps for making a tomato cross: http://avrdc.org/download/publications/crop-guides/tomato/seedhybrid.pdf ; http://www.avrdc.org/LC/tomato/hybrid/08emasc.html
Additionally, we still carry Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties in our book store. I would recommend this excellent and very practical reference if you want information to help you encourage and train farmers to save seeds and/or develop their own varieties.
Motis, T. 2011. ‘Caro Rich’ Tomato Seed for Increased Vitamin A. ECHO Development Notes no. 112