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Mary-Elaine & Royce Hood at the Carmel Tomato fest 2007

shantihhh's picture

People from 30 states and 7 countries came to the Carmel Valley just for the 16th annual Tomato Fest. This event has grown from a small gathering in Gary Ibsen's back yard and has evolved into an extravaganza of food, wine, and TOMATOES-from tiny currant tomatoes to gigantic beefsteaks like our grandparents use to grow all for charity.

It is amazing to share such passion for the Love Apple with 3000 people all at one time in the magnificent setting of Quail Lodge on the golf course. It is a joyful time filled with music, fun, laughter, tasting so many tomatoes - declaring that each one is now your "best favourite", then sampling bites that 40 of the most prestigious and creative chefs have developed just for this amazing event, all while sipping the finest wines from 60 of Monterey Counties award winning vineyards.

What could be better than this? Steve and I struck up a conversation with one couple who jokingly asked if they were following us as we ended up at the same place several times. In the course of conversations with Mary Lane and Royce Hood we found out that she saw the announcement of Carmel Tomato Fest on the web and she just had to attend. She booked tickets to fly from Florida to attend the event.

Now to explain a bit further, Mary Elaine and I share an addiction, it is called 'TomatoMania'. She grows even more Heirlooms in her yard than I, topping me by 50 varieties this year with her 150 varieties. What makes this story even more fun is that after we shot this video there were drawings for various prizes with the grand prize a round trip for two anywhere in the US, and guess who won? Yes! Mary Elaine Royce Hood won the coveted big prize. Wonder if they will use the tickets to attend next years' Tomato Fest.

Also Known as: 
Cross Country Tomato Maniacs at The Tomato Fest
The tomato fest is a celebration of tomatoes with over 300 varieties. Mary Lane and Royce Hood talk about their experiences at the Tomato Fest in Sanfrancisco

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The.Tortilla.Guy's picture
Hey Mary-Anne I love tomato's but am sorry to say that I have only gone as far as New Jersey for them The Tortilla Guy
shantihhh's picture
I have heard Jersey tomatoes are great. I grew Jersey Devil last year and it is so kewl as it looks like a long pointy pepper. It is like a huge plum tomato but with a crazy shape. I was surprised that people come from 30 states and 6 or 7 countries each year, but it is an amazing event-not just tomatoes. The barbecue is amazing with smoked tri-tips, sides of wild salmon, grilled veggies galore, etc. The Salsa Tasting bar is enormous! And as you see the chef's prepare great things. Many prepare 2 items so there are about 60-80 items to eat and 60 wineries pouring several wines each to choose from-what a fun time. I think a lot of people combine the event with a vacation in California! San Francisco vies with Paris as the number one holiday choice world-wide. Besides the California wine country is amazing-Healdsburg, Russian River, Napa Valley, Monterey County Coastal, and my favourite Amador in the Gold Country i.e. the Sierra Foothills where the finest Zinfandels are grown and produced. Of course Lodi is coming in to it's own as it is largest growing area for Zinfandel grapes. Such as Franzia grows many acres of grapes in this Central Valley area. Have you been to San Francisco? I am only 25 miles east and I am a great cook! Now there is a reason to come on out - we'll cook for YOU! Shanti/Mary-Anne
shantihhh's picture
Anyone start their tomato plants yet? Shanti/Mary-Anne
Mary-Elaine & Royce Hood At The Carmel Tomato Fest 2007 Video, Cross Country Tomato Maniacs At The Tomato Fest