Eric Stekovics has scoured the world for tomato seeds in his quest to revive some nearly forgotten flavours. Today more than 3,200 varieties of tomato thrive in his fields near the Neusiedlersee.
Frauenkirchen, Schäferhof 13, Austria
He is one of the most innovative and successful farmers in Burgenland and his passion are tomatoes. “A wonderful vegetable”, he says, “no wonder Austrians call them paradise apples”. Stekovics has the world’s largest collection of tomato plants, producing fruit in every conceivable colour, shape and size. The mild climate around the Neusiedlersee, central Europe’s largest steppe lake, is ideal for tomato growing, as the sun shines on 300 days of the year.
With his unconventional methods – Stekovics never waters his plants nor ties them up – he manages to extract the best flavour from these delicious old varieties. Immediately after picking, the tomatoes are made into sauces, preserves and chutneys, which can be purchased from the farm shop and in selected delicatessens. Stekovics runs a daily tour through his colourful tomato fields from July to September.