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