City Hall Plaza, a notorious expanse of concrete and brick, is hardly the place for a good old fashioned county fair. But this afternoon, farmers from across the state brought their best to Boston for state's 25th annual Tomato Festival.
(Globe file photograph 2005)
Susan Macone, a farmer from Concord, took home top prizes in two of the four categories for her heirloom and slicing tomatoes. To see a list of all the winners, click here.
"It's been a tough year because we've had a lot of rain," said Macone, who was overjoyed because she overcame adversity in a tough growing season. "My farm's right on the Sudbury River, and about half my tomatoes went underwater."
Growers and judges agreed that with seemingly nonstop rain and colder-than-usual temperatures, it has been a tough summer for tomatoes. Many tomatoes were lost to late blight, a fungus famous for the Irish potato famine of the 1850s that thrives in damp, cool weather. Other farmers have had to wait longer than usual for their crop to ripen.
"To be honest with you, they lack the flavor they usually have," said Gail Perrin, a former food editor at The Boston Globe who has been judging tomatoes since the festival's inception. "I know that's because of the wet summer."
Growers said their crops have been late, but the recent arrival of warm weather means they will have a lot of ripe tomatoes coming off the vine.
"I think it's especially important to let people know that with the nice weather, nice tomatoes are coming on the market," said Scott Soares, commissioner of the state's Department of Agricultural Resources. "If this continues, we're likely to see more."
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