While the wet summer has affected the growing seasons of many farm products, visitors can expect to see — and have an opportunity to taste and touch — more than 100 varieties of tomatoes Aug. 15 at the sixth annual Tomadah Paradah.
The event, which is free of charge, is co-sponsored by Wilmington College and Swindler & Sons Florists. The “Parade of Tomatoes” will run from 5-7 p.m. at WC’s Academic Farm, 1594 Fife Ave.
This year’s Tomadah Paradah will also place a spotlight on 100 varieties of peppers, 14 subdivisions of eggplant, six types of watermelon and five pumpkin varieties. The WC Agriculture Department’s students and staff have been growing these products in anticipation of the event.
Monte Anderson, professor of agriculture, said the tomato harvest has only recently begun, and due to the weather, they’ve harvested only 10 percent of the poundage of tomatoes at this point compared to that of a typical year.
“It’s been so wet, the yields are down,” he said, noting it’s caused tomatoes to produce a thicker skin and some varieties taste a bit different than usual.
Anderson and other agriculture staff and students will be on hand to discuss details on this year’s crops, in addition to showing visitors what’s growing in the greenhouse and the college’s innovative irrigation and staking systems.
Also, several competitions will be featured at the Tomadah Paradah.
Swindler & Sons Florists is sponsoring a $50 prize for best tasting ripe tomato, $100 for heaviest ripe tomato (last year’s winner, a German Strawberry, weighed 2.7 pounds) and the winner of the best tasting cherry tomato will receive a quit made by Pat Swindler.
Swindler & Sons, 321 W. Locust St., will be weighing the entries for largest tomato at its garden center through noon Aug. 15. Those interested in the best tasting contests can bring their entries to Swindlers Aug. 13 or 14, from 8 a.m. to noon, for judging. They should deliver several full-size tomatoes and at least 10 cherries so there’s enough for judging.
Also, again this year, the Tomadah Paradah 5K will be held in conjunction with the main event. Prizes will be awarded for the top three male and female runners, in addition to the first 50 entrants receiving a participation memento.
Registration at the farm runs from 4:45 to 5:15 p.m. with the race starting at 5:30 p.m. Cost is $5.
Submitted by Randy Sarivs, Wilmington College director of public relations.