Mantua – An old farmer told me once “a life spent in search of the perfect tomato would not be a life wasted” Did you know there are over 7000 varieties of tomatoes? On Saturday August 24th at the Rotary Farmers Market there were 14 different Heirloom tomatoes sliced and ready to be tasted.  The two celebrity judges were Sue Nelson owner of Sue Nelson Design in Kent and Michele Stuck the Mantua Village Solicitor.  All persons shopping at the market also were invited to taste and judge the tomatoes. This was the first time any of the judges ever tasted so many different varieties at one setting. The winners for the Heirloom Tomato Tasting Contest: The Best Tomato was a Lemon Cherry Tomato presented by Patsy Ried.  The Tastiest Tomato Award went to Chisti Brugmann with a Carolina Gold tomato.

An award for the prettiest tomato also went to Christi Brugmann for her Italian Striped Romain tomato.  The Best Small Tomato went to Patsy Ried for the Lemon Cherry tomato.  The Largest Tomato was 1.3lb, the award went to Dean Olson. The large tomato is an Italian heirloom originating in 1809 from Thomas Jefferson’s farm. This old variety took second place in taste category, and is unusual because it is used for both eating and cooking. When the tasting contest was over, a there was a  “Bobbing for Tomatoes Contest” in a large tub of water, and a dozen tomatoes.  All the kids, and one adult participated in this hair-soaking event. All captured tomatoes were kept to be enjoyed later.  A water fight erupted when the bobbing event was over between the kids and a few adults soaking all participants in the hot August sun.

This summer the market has become a location to add to the reason you love this area.  With repeat and many new visitors every Saturday.  All sellers are providing fresh picked heirloom vegetables, and fresh baked bread, pies, cinnamon and pecan rolls and many more items.

Future market contest are: Salsa Contest on September 21 – wimpy, now you’re talking, hot cha-cha (mild, medium, hot ).  A Fruit or Vegetable Pie Contest October 5, and a Free Pumpkin Carving Contest October 12. The rewards are huge!

We are always interested in new venders for information