The day started with me labeling all the tomatoes entered into our tomato contest, followed by me chopping the more than 20 varieties for tasting by market visitors and our judges, John Altomare of Hudson's Restaurant, Catherine St. John of The Western Reserve School of Cooking, and Liz Murphy of Destination Hudson.
There was definitely a lot going on at the market – a cooking demonstration by Chef Derek Finnel from Nosh Eatery and Catering, who filled in for Chef Rick Carson, plus two contests. What was really neat though, was feeling all the positive energy among the vendors. There was so much excitement about our tomato and salsa contests. Vendors put in a lot of extra time making the salsa contest possible and market visitors showed a lot of appreciation for their efforts.
I have to say, our customers were tremendous. They not only tasted and voted for their favorite salsa, they also were willing to try tomatoes with names I had never heard before, such as Green Zebra and Berkeley Tie-dye.
Vendors and customers always interact at the market, but the Tomato Festival provided the opportunity for the interaction to reach another level. It was great to see both vendors and customers monitoring the voting and trying to keep abreast of who was in the lead in the salsa contest. Customers were talking to each other about what they had tasted and making sure no one missed out on all the goodies that were available at the market.
I salute all our vendors for making the Tomato Festival a lot of fun, but especially those who added to the flavor of the day by taking the time to prepare special products. I really hope you, too, were able to enjoy the festival. I'm already looking forward to next year.
See you on the green Saturday,
Audrey Hylton, Market Manager