Thompson & Morgan, based in Ipswich, has been around since 1855, but it's only been within the last couple of years that they've produced weird hand-grafted plants like the "Tomtato," introduced in 2013, which produces tomatoes on top and potatoes on the bottom. The concept isn't actually new-during World War I, the British government tried to boost home-front food production by promoting the plant for home gardeners-but Thompson & Morgan claims to have produced the first commercially-viable version.
The company has been working on the Egg & Chips plant since before introducing the Tomtato, and finally hit upon the right eggplant-potato combination. Besides the cool factor and space savings, there's the added benefit of having the less hardy eggplant grafted onto the tougher potato roots to help the eggplant thrive in the United Kingdom's climate. The plant produces between three and four eggplants and about four-and-a-half pounds of potatoes.
According to Kris Collins, the communications officer for the company, the young plants are produced for Thompson & Morgan by Dutch greenhouse growers. Here's the rundown: They slice a piece of tissue the size of a pinhead from each plant, which are checked for viruses and grown separately in gel and then compost. When the plants are two inches tall and the stems are the same width, they are cut at the exact same angle so they can be grafted together. This isn't genetic modification a la Monsanto. The two plants remain genetically separate, but because they're from the same family, Solanaceae, they can be joined together.