The presence of 114 varieties of tomatoes promises both a visual and culinary spectacle while 157 pepper varieties will add additional heat to the mid-summer evening when Wilmington College stages this year’s Tomadah Paradah.
The eighth annual Parade of Tomatoes will be featured Aug. 12, from 5 to 7 p.m., at WC’s academic farm located at 1594 Fife Avenue. The College’s Agriculture Department and Swindler & Sons Florist and Garden Center are again co-sponsoring the event.
With just over two weeks until the festival, WC’s Dr. Monte Anderson, professor of agriculture, reported the summer of 2017 has been a good year so far for growing summer’s favorite fruit.
Tomatoes with names like Cherokee Purple, Crimson Cushion, Super Sioux, King Arthur, Lemon Drop and Lipstick will compete for the favor of the area’s most ardent connoisseurs of all things tomato.
Anderson added that one of last year’s highlights, Don Chafin’s demonstration of New Mexico Chile Cuisine will commence around 6 p.m. — complete with a grill on which he will demonstrate how to roast chiles.
Speaking of peppers, the Tomadah Paradah will feature those with Scoville scale heat ratings from zero to through-the-roof at 2 million-plus. The notorious ghost pepper, which rates in the 1.5 million range, is in Anderson’s words, “kid’s stuff,” when compared to the blistering hot Jigsaw Reaper, which measures in the 2.2 million range. Topping that and vying for this year’s Guinness Book of World Records is a pepper known by the somewhat innocuous moniker, Cappuccino — rated at a face-melting 2.9 million.
For comparison by those with a less incendiary taste in peppers, a typical habanero might be rated at a mere 400,000 Scoville units. Those daring to try some of the paint-peeling peppers might find comfort in knowing that pieces of nine varieties of cool watermelon will be waiting for them.
Once again this year, Swindler’s is sponsoring the biggest tomato contest with the top three prizes of $100, $75 and $50 awarded for the heaviest ripe tomatoes. Swindler & Sons, 321 W. Locust St., Wilmington, is weighing the entries for largest tomato at its garden center now through noon on Aug. 12.
Submitted by Randy Sarvis, director of public relations, Wilmington College.