Conservatoire National de la Tomate

At the castle in Montlouis-sur-Loire, central France, Louis-Albert de Broglie (LAB) decided to set up a plantation in 1992 that now has more than 700 varieties of tomatoes of different colors (green, white and purple) and with exotic names (“Dad’s Sunset”, “Green Sausage”, “Mark Twain” or “Portuguese”)


Twenty-five years ago LAB discovered, through a scientific catalog, that there are 10,000 varieties of tomatoes and was amazed that even farmers who have been working in the field for several generations have been unaware of the old varieties fallen into oblivion. “People know a red, round fruit with fewer and fewer taste qualities due to the industrial methods of cultivation,” notes LAB.

Conservatório Nacional do TomateThe current consumption, in large stores, was limited to providing a limited choice of products, since factors such as the look, size and shelf life were favored for commercial reasons, standardizing the products. Louis-Albert gathered seeds on trips around the world and with specialized French associations, such as Kokopelli, laid hands on the ground.

In 1996, the plantation was certified as a National Conservatory of Tomato by the Conservatoire des Collectifs Vegetable Specialties, in France, at that time it had only 300 varieties of the fruit.

This unique collection was thus created with the scientific purpose of promoting plant diversity. “Biodiversity must be preserved in order to understand it and, above all, to transmit this heritage”, says LAB, explaining the educational purpose of the project and to stress the need of creating a new model of food production “economically viable, ecologically correct and healthy.”

A model that distances itself from the harms caused by industrial production: soil destruction, air and water pollution and diseases caused by pesticides and other chemicals.

“We are what we eat” argues Louis-Albert.