I know tomato season is in full swing when I’ve got some kind of raw tomato on the menu for lunch or dinner (or both) every single day. This week, I’ve been noshing on BLTs, tomato sandwiches, tomatoes with cottage cheese and plain old sliced tomatoes with salt and pepper, which might be the best way to enjoy that pure summer tomato flavor.
I also know tomato season is in full swing when I get a press release about the annual Eastmont Tomato Festival at the Meadowbrook Center in Shawsville, which this year takes place Saturday, Aug. 13. Folks, if you have never been to this fun, quirky event, you should consider attending this year.
The Eastmont Tomato Festival started four years ago as a little community festival organized by a core group of involved citizens, but it has grown ever since. When I went last year to judge the food contests, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. There were vendor’s booths, where folks sold tomato-related products as well as stuff like honey and eggs. There was a big food booth with pizza, tomato sandwiches, fried green tomatoes and much more. And there was live music.
The highlight of the whole shebang might be the Tomato Pageant, where contestants compete for the coveted titles of “Cherry Tomato Baby,” “Tomato Prince/Princess” and “Heirloom Tomato Queen.” This year’s festival will honor the memory of 2009 Heirloom Tomato Queen Karen Cronin, an active member of the Montgomery County community who died in February. All festival proceeds will be given to endow the Karen Cronin Legacy Fund, which is administered by the Mountain Valley Charitable Foundation.
Celebrity judges for the food events this year include Larry Bly of “Cookin’ Cheap” and New York Times bestselling author Sharyn McCrumb. And it’s not too late to enter your prize recipes for salsa, barbecue sauce and much more. You can also enter your ripe, homegrown tomatoes in a category. Entry forms can be downloaded on the festival website and must be brought to the registration table the morning of the event.
If you’d like to volunteer, contact Michael Hemphill at 540-556-2879 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, email email@example.com. Local vendors wishing to participate in the Festival are welcome to contact Sandy Birkenmaier at 540-381-1856 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit www.EastmontTomatoFestival.com.