Their friendship is based on a mutual love of growing things. Benson Branch librarian, Carol Erkens and long-time patron, Nathan Kennedy became acquainted through OPL's Common Soil program. "I suppose it was the 'seed' that got him started" says Carol of Nathan, who has experimented with growing many different types of plants and is now in school at Metro pursuing his degree in biology/botany. He wants to develop plants that are nutrient dense and easy to grow.
Nathan, pictured here, brought some of his excess produce to the library to share with other customers. Much fuss was made over his breed of Reisetomate or "traveler tomatoes" which according to Rare Seeds it is "the most novel tomato we have seen, this tomato is like a big bunch of cherry tomatoes all fused together: an amazing trait that had everyone here asking questions about the alien-looking, bumpy tomatoes. [These are] the perfect tomato for those who love raw lemons."
Nathan is trying to develop the peel-apart-ness of the original fruit, and cross it with sweeter tomatoes for a better flavor. It may take a few more years to perfect the breed in Nebraska's climate. Nathan's work is all done with traditional plant breeding methods, which requires hand pollination to isolate the desired trait in the fruit. It usually takes about 8-10 years to get a stable strain.
Thanks for sharing your tasty project with us, Nathan, we know you'll go far!