Tomatopalooza X in Efland - a perfect location, a beautiful day - no TV, no cell phones - just great people sharing and learning and talking an eating, listening to music and watching dancing....kind of like turning back the clock to a simpler time.

I would love to post some pics - but neither Sue (who never cut so many tomatoes in her life) or I got to pick up a camera once! My first thoughts of the day....showed up at noon, had 12 flats of tomatoes...took Sue, Sara, Caitlin, Sara's friend Wendy and me an hour to get them out and tagged (during which time I was completely drenched with sweat) - did the intro comments, off to the dwarf table, cut there, had a zillion tomato conversations, people kept pushing bottles of water at me (especially a very caring Debbie Moose...thanks, Debbie - you kept me hydrated), and Sue dragged me to the salsa table at one point (yum...the hot salsa, the cornbread!)....then at one point, a tomato/bacon sandwich (which was so, so appreciated - thanks, Alison - couldn't imagine anything tasting better!) - back to talking to attendees, answering questions - finally headed to the clogging area at 4:30 and sat my butt down in a chair for the first time since I got out of my truck at noon!  Loved the music, singing and dancing!

Of all of the Tomatopalooza events, this one was the most blurry for me - no pics, got to taste hardly anything, day flew by in a pleasant tomatoey, just wow! At one point, when a refreshing breeze blew in, I thought about how hot it was back in Raleigh, and felt so happy to be in Efland!  It seemed like a lot of people attended, which is great - and people didn't trickle in - they were there at the start... and they didn't trickle out - they stayed until the end! I hope the organizers collected info on who most of the people were and how they found out about it - much lower percentage of my seedling customers, many many new faces. Who were all those people?

I slept the clock around - collapsed at 11 PM, got up at 9 this morning, and my brain is so totally fried!  Dean, Jim, Rich, Greg, Chris, Tim (who provided so much support in set up and clean up), Ed, Steve, Scott and Lena, Jim and his wife from South Carolina, Cris - great to see you/have great conversations.  Many other friends/familiar faces I was delighted to see but didn't get nearly as much of a chance for a chat, sadly - such as Rock, Reitzel, Sarig, Gray (thanks for the beets!), and Greta - to everyone, thanks for coming, wish we had more time to chat.  Lee - thanks as always. The success of the event totally lies upon the hosts (Jimmy and Fred for sharing such superb location), Lori and Brian and their cast of many helpers (Sophia, who lived at the registration table, and Magdalena, tomato cutter extraordinaire) - my three girls (Sweet Sue, Sarandipity and Caitydid), Sara's many friends. Gardens and Guns magazine was there, and an article will be forthcoming. Sara's friend, Stephen, a photographer, was also there and took lots of pics that we can't wait to see - I am sure I am forgetting other people (sorry!) and details. Oh - and mother nature - never have my own tomato contributions made up such a large percentage of stuff to taste - which makes me nervous about future events - there is a risk there...always is, but something we need to ponder for the future.

Whoosh! Tomatopalooza X has come and gone.....that was FAST! 
Rich Baldwin
7/29/2012 10:02:24 am

The site was absolutely unbelievable. The shade provided by the tree made the heat of the afternoon bearable while letting us gaze on the true colors of the fruit. The lack of flying pests we had last year was a great relief. The crowd was interesting, I would love to know the average age of the attendees, although I would probably be pushing the number up with my statistics. You guys did a fabulous job and I will make it a habit to attend every year as long as there are maters to taste. Thanks for the tee shirt, I will wear it proudly.

7/29/2012 10:56:09 am

You are very welcome, Rich! It was great that you were there - and am so glad you enjoyed the day. Looking forward to hearing about your tomatoes when they finally ripen for you....

8/3/2012 02:51:23 am

My family and friends had a terrific time meeting fellow tomato afficiandos and enjoying the terrific scenery of the farm. What I like most about Tomatopalooza is the family atmosphere and comraderie that exists even among complete strangers.

The value of promoting heirloom tomatoes is key to maintaining awareness of the beauty, taste, and health benefits of the fruit and other vegetables. This world of GMO, Commercial produce, and processed food is not only making people sick but detracting from quality of life. Tomatopalooza is a fantastic means of promoting healthier, more robust food and making friends who share that in common.

Craig and Lee have certainly founded something that is a positive influence and is standing the test of time.

BTW: Has anyone met a pushy or unfriendly person at any Tomatopalooza? I never have ....

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