The presence of 130 varieties of tomatoes promises both a visual and culinary spectacle while 80 pepper varieties will add additional heat to the dog-days-of-summer evening when Wilmington College stages this year’s Tomadah Paradah on Saturday, Aug. 11.
The ninth Parade of Tomatoes, held annually the second Saturday in August, will be featured from 5-7 p.m. at WC’s academic farm located at 1594 Fife Ave. The college’s agriculture department and Swindler & Sons Florist and Garden Center are again co-sponsoring the event.
Less than two weeks before the festival, WC’s Dr. Monte Anderson, professor of agriculture, reported the summer of 2018 had been an interesting year so far for growing summer’s favorite fruit.
“The high temperatures in late June and early July slowed down the crop’s momentum, but so far blight hasn’t been a problem,” he said. “We’ve started to pick various varieties and expect most will be ripe by Aug. 11.”
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 retired agriculture professor Don Chafin’s demonstration involving peppers — a highlight the past two years — will commence around 6 p.m. Taste-testing will be encouraged.
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 thew 1.5 million range, is in Anderson’s words, “kid’s stuff,” when compared to the blistering hot Carolina and Jigsaw Reaper peppers, which have measured in the 2 million-plus range. The face-melting Carolina Reaper holds the 2018 record of 2.2 million, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
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 six 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 gift certificates awarded for the heaviest ripe tomatoes. Swindler & Sons, 321 W. Locust St., is weighing the entries for largest tomato at its garden center through noon Aug. 11.