At a TRU/FOG brainstorming session in the spring an MGiT put forward the idea of a tomato festival based on the history of canneries in Kamloops. A committee was formed, a site found and a date set. On September 17, the Stuart Wood School grounds alongside the Saturday Farmers Market became the site of the 1st Annual Tomato Festival. As well the day was declared Tomato Day by Kamloops City Council.
Stands at the Festival included the Master Gardeners who provided information on saving tomato seed, growing tomatoes in self watering pots and generally dealing with tomato related questions.
The Community Kitchen stand displayed tomato products, provided information on their organization and received the produce left over from the tomato tasting and competition.
Tomato seeds were sold. Five restaurants served a variety of tasty tomato treats. Competitions were held for the biggest, the ugliest, the heaviest, the most perfect shaped tomato and the most tomatoes per stem. Seventy varieties of tomatoes were displayed and available for tasting. A history of the Kamloops Canneries was also displayed.
A few facts:
The display/tasting stand was organized by an MGiT
A total of twelve people provided the tomatoes for the display and tasting, four of them being MGs/MGiTs.
MGs/MGiTs contributed 34 of the total 70 varieties displayed and tasted.
Ann Sutherland, MG, with 21 varieties, provided the most tomato varieties by a single person and was also the winner of the most fruit per stem competition.
Over 3250 samples were eaten and in the end demand out-stripped supply.
The festival was declared a success and is expected to be held again in 2012.
Tomato festival display
Tomato fest display