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Cecilia_MD7a August 17, 2008 11:49 AM

MAGTAG 2008 Report - Winners and Notes
First, I have to say that I had a wonderful time at yesterday's event. For once, the weather cooperated, although every now an then it had to remind us who was boss by blowing plates off the tables.

First, this year's Top Ten:

1) Black Cherry, grown by Greg F.
2) Cherokee Green, grown by Greg F.
3) White Currant, grown by Greg F.
4) Emily, grown by Greg F.
5) Sungold, grown by Greg F.
6) Cherokee Purple, grown by Greg F.
7) Box Car Willie, grown by B. H. (please identify yourself!)
8) Super Snow White, grown by Mary (Manure Queen)
9) Momentado, grown by Mary (Manure Queen)
10) Kosovo, grown by Greg F.

Notice a pattern here? Greg even won for Largest Tomato - his monster-size Emily weighed in at 31.7 oz.

Now, I couldn't for the life of me taste any difference between Greg's Sungolds and Black Cherries and my own. Since Greg devised this year's rating system, I believe it was rigged!

Actually, the penny system of rating was MUCH easier than anything we've tried so far. No calculating necessary. I suggest we try it again next year.

Some random notes, in no particular order:

The prize for the person who came the longest distance goes to Ann (Honu), who came all the way from Hawaii! Of course, she flew to D.C. on business and stopped by, but still, that's a long way. She treated us all to chocolate-covered macadamia nuts. I rewarded her with a container of Old Bay seasoning, the signature spice mix of Baltimore.

The longest actual drive was probably by Donna Marie and her friend Liz, who came down from NJ. Liz took photos and videos of the festival, which you can view by following Donna's link at the end of the "One Week Until MAGTAG 2008" thread.

Rob Kasper, food writer for the Baltimore Sun and tomato fanatic, came for a visit, although he didn't bring any of the Prudens Purples he bragged about to me by email. Probably ate 'em all. His critic's choice was Kellogg's Breakfast, grown (of course) by the Michael Phelps of MAGTAG, Greg F.

Speaking of local newspapers, Lynn T. made the recipe that won the Washington Post's Top Tomato Recipe Contest for 2008, 'Mato Sammiges, submitted by Mary Jo Sweeney of Crownsville, MD. Although the recipe called for ripe tomatoes, Lynn also used unripe ones, and they were equally delicious.

Lynn also had the smarts to take all the leftover cut-up tomatoes and leftover bacon from the BLT bar to cook up into a sauce. I'll bet her kitchen smelled great last night!

Those of us who stayed late also got to take home leftover tomatoes, of which there were plenty - mainly because Kim (Bluekat) left behind a bumper crop. Thanks so much, Kim!

I'm not much of a beer drinker, but as much as I hate to mention Greg F. again, folks had good things to say about his homebrew. My brother Joe, who actually lived in Belgium, really enjoyed Greg's Belgian ale.

Thanks to everybody who helped out - especially our Grillmeisters, my DH Dave Wright and Greg Menke.

Manure Queen left behind a bunch of seeds, which I forgot to distribute until after most of the attendees had left. I'll go through them and make a list in case anybody's interested in particular varieties.

See you all next year for MAGTAG 2009!

Adenn1 August 17, 2008 01:39 PM

Just got home and wanted to say thanks again to Cecilia, Greg and everyone else who worked so hard to make Magtag 08 another great event. Had a wonderful time and enjoyed meeting new and old tomato friends. I will post some pictures in this thread shortly.

Lee August 17, 2008 02:50 PM

Sounds like a great time! Glad to hear it went so well.


cdbva August 17, 2008 03:09 PM

We had a minor cat crisis and I wasn't able to attend. I'm really disappointed that I didn't get to meet everyone and talk tomatoes.

The cat seems fine now, and we have a cupboard full of San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, which I was going to bring, that are going to take a long time to use up.:evil: Ah well.

Some of you have seen me over at GardenWeb (can I say that?) and I've just joined up here. Congratulations to Greg on sweeping all the tomato medals. And who was that in the chic tomato hat?


gardnwatch August 17, 2008 03:48 PM

I grew one of the maters ( Box Car Willie) that Greg didn't.
This year I grew it in a maybe growing it in soil in the ground might change the taste. I should try that for next year.
Thanks to the organizers for the wonderful day. I had a great time tasting .

Cecilia_MD7a August 17, 2008 04:08 PM

Christine, I'm sorry you couldn't make it, but I'm glad that Kitty is OK. Too bad you couldn't come - nobody brought San Pellegrino or Acqua Panna.

If you're referring to the gentleman in the baseball cap, that's my Dad, Edwin. If you mean the bleached blonde floozy in the headband, that's me. My sister Theresa made both items of headgear. I also wore tomato earrings. If you watch the video, there is a part where Liz (behind the camera) asks me to show my fingernails. That's because my sister painted my nails 5 different colors on each hand - red, yellow, brownish/black, orange, and pinkish - to represent most of the colors that tomatoes come in. We couldn't do green or white, since I only have 10 fingers.

gflynn August 18, 2008 03:30 AM

Tomato Folk,

Thanks much to Cecilia for all her hard work and for bringing all her kin; I had no idea she was one of 7. Cecilia's had folks sign in and she said we had 42 people. That beat's last years count which was 36 people attending. It made it fun to have so many folks from so many places. (HI, NJ, PA, VA and MD).

The number of tomato varieties was down to somewhere around 50 varieties which was partly because we started a week earlier while the tomatoes started a week later. NO ONE TALKED TO THE TOMATOES! They were all in the dressing room discussing this before the show. How rude they said ;-)

Also we were missing Trudi who contributes so many and Dunkel (Doug) from WV, who was with us 2 years ago and grew about 60 plants of many different WV varieties but didn't like to eat them. (huh?)

I counted the empty beer bottles from my homebrew that I was "recycling" last night and 29 were empty. That's impressive! I didn't know that folks would care much except for the novelty of the idea.

As far as how the competition went, I was hoping to test the quality of the "Emily" tomato in this competition and as you can see from Cecilia's results "Emily" came in 4th place. Don't let this fool you because it was the highest ranking Large Pink beefsteak among the winners.

Over the past 3 years we have always found that cherries have come in way ahead. This suprised some folks that are part of other gatherings. Perhaps it is a Maryland weather or soil issue? Perhaps, statistically 3 years is too small of a sample? Black Cherry and Sungold are always up top and other cherries are in the top ten that include Dr. Carolyn Pink and White Current.

This puts "Emily" on top of a whole class of tomatoes that includes, red and pink, large hearts and beefsteaks. Of course this only one competition and I doubt that it will be repeated next year. If it does and this tomato continues to produce with the same size and vigor, I would say that this a variety worth keeping. I have been debating this question since it seems like "Just another" large pink beefsteak to add to so many others that are already so good. Hopefully it will stand the test of time.

The parents of this variety are Prue and Marianna' Peace. These are good parents. On that note, one of the winners from last year that was also a cross from similar parents but the F3s segregated so much this year that it was not the same at all from last year. Too bad really but some of those lines still seem interesting and there's always next year :-)

The "Penny" method of judging has one distinct weakness. That is that it favors early entries in popular locations. We could dampen these effects by having enterants interlace their entries with other competetors on other tables.

I may add that there was general agreement from the regulars that his was the most fun we had at a MAGTAG event so far. It seems that many thing were in our favor this year. The weather was perfect.

Hope to see you all next year.


DonnaMarieNJ August 18, 2008 07:44 AM

It was fun and I hope I can find someone to ride with me next year.:o

Cecilia_MD7a August 18, 2008 08:21 AM

Greg, actually, I'm one of 8! I have five brothers and two sisters. Unfortunately, only one brother (and his family) and one sister could make it this year - several of my sibs scheduled their vacations for last week. My Dad, however, really looks forward to our fest. The only reason he missed MAGTAG #1 was because he was in Poland that day!

Of course, the Flynns well on the way to equaling mine as far as number is concerned. Will you name tomatoes after all your kids? I heard Isabelle (sp.?) complaining when Emily's tomato won the largest tomato award.

BTW, the "Emily" tomato really deserved its top-ten rating. You should definitely keep growing it.

As far as cherry tomatoes are concerned, maybe the kids all like them best because they're sweet, and that's why they get so many votes. Another possibility is that they're so early and prolific that somebody always has a bunch of them available for MAGTAG, when other varieties might not be ripe yet. Saturday, two of us brought in Sungolds, and three brought Black Cherries. And I think Donna said she used Sungolds in her yummy panzanella.

And as I recall, previous methods of judging also favored the earlier entrants. Perhaps next year we should have everybody take notes, and then all vote within a particular time period. That way, latecomers like Bluekat won't be slighted. And yes, mixing up the locations of entries is a good idea.

DH Dave took a picture of Emily F. with her namesake tomato, so I'm already dreaming up next year's poster design.

DonnaMarieNJ August 18, 2008 09:24 AM

Yes, for my panzanella I used sun golds and sweet million from my garden and yellow pear (I think - purchased at farmers market - can't take credit for them - just bought them for looks - thought they'd be pretty with the red and gold cherries).

I also think we should have only the name of the tomato visible on the plates and cups and put the name of the person who grew it on the underside. This way there will be no favoritism for your bestest buddies ;) I saw Liz adding a few pennies to my stump cup :oops:

gflynn August 18, 2008 05:45 PM


Your Stump of the World was very good.


DonnaMarieNJ August 18, 2008 08:13 PM

Thanks Greg!

It was a great picnic.

hank August 18, 2008 09:10 PM

darn that Liz, but what are ya gonna do? Hank

bluekat August 19, 2008 09:17 AM

It was a great picnic and I really liked the tomato sandwiches with the cheese. I may have eaten more than my share...thanks to Lyn for making them.

I think I took one look at the Emily tomato and figured mine didn't stand a chance - LOL. In my haste to get mine out for tasting I cut a couple before weighing.

My personal favorites were the Prue, Snow White and of course White Currant.

Hank, I am thinking peaches now that I see your name!

DonnaMarieNJ August 21, 2008 10:19 AM

Hi, everybody - just a quick question. What were those pretty yellow tomatoes that had the red bottom and the red inside? I cut into it today, and the red had made such a pretty pattern inside the tomato (and it tasted good, too)!

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