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Cecilia_MD7a August 13, 2009 09:18 AM

MAGTAG 2009 - almost here!
Yes, there's just a little more than week to go before MAGTAG IV. So how are your harvests? Please, please bring anything you can, since we won't have Greg F.'s usual bounty to count on this year.

Which brings me to this request: Does anybody have extra tomatoes to spare for my BLT Bar? I may have enough - I can't be sure at this point - but in the past I've depended on Greg for additional slicers.

Greg noted in a post last year that "the 'Penny' method of judging has one distinct weakness. That is that it favors early entries in popular locations." Should we designate a specific time for the tomato taste voting, so that everybody who has tomatoes to enter can get a fair chance? Everybody could taste as many 'maters as they like, and take notes, but not drop their pennies in the cups until a specific time.

Greg also went on to mention in his post, "We could dampen these effects by having entrants interlace their entries with other competitors on other tables." I think this is a good idea as well. In past MAGTAGs, three tables have been enough for the tasting. We could each spread our varieties across the tables.

Comments/suggestions, anybody?

gflynn August 13, 2009 02:30 PM

Cecelia et al,

Three things,

First I think that putting the names of the entrants on the bottom edges of the plates, thus hiding them may help.

Secondly enforceing a wait time it could be difficult since people come and go a different times and early folks may get a little bored waiting. Plus very few folks even try all of the tomatoes because it takes so long. This may discourage folks from trying everything. I am usually able to try everything because of an early start plus lots of dedication :-)

Third I agree that we should spread out the tomatoes on different tables.


Here is the scale I believe we used last year:

Our judging scale is 0 to 3 pennies:
0 - bad or flavorless
1 - good
2 - very good
3 - in my top 3

You still like?


Cecilia_MD7a August 14, 2009 12:56 PM

OK, Greg - no time restrictions.

Here's how the rating system is listed on the signs that we put up last year (which I'll be using this year also):

0—bad or flavorless (a spitter!)
2¢—very good

Cecilia_MD7a August 14, 2009 01:06 PM

Oops, I forgot - Greg, you mentioned on that other website that you could supply a roll of plastic to use as tablecloths, and duct tape to secure it. Are you still planning to do so? Trudi D. offered to pick up tablecloths when she goes to get the utensils tomorrow, so if you aren't bringing the plastic, we need to know soon.

gflynn August 14, 2009 03:57 PM


I haven't picked them up yet but I intend too and really should because Trudi lives pretty far away and its the first thing we do when we get to the park.

Worry not! We will have them. When shall we set up at the park? 9 or 10 AM?


gflynn August 16, 2009 01:09 PM

Yesterday (Saturday) I started my 4 older (3 to 9) children working on the prize ribbons. Well then some friends came over and joined in so I put all of the supplies out on the deck. Then more freinds came. Pretty soon I was cutting out ribbon shapes as fast as I could and the whole nieghborhood was having a great time on my deck.

We now have ribbons for 1st through 20th place and a big one for biggest tomato. I hope this doesn't make things to difficult but the kids were having such a great time. My Sophia (5 years old) is a true artist. She make the 6th and 3rd place ribbons and others.

Can't wait for our date!

Cecilia_MD7a August 16, 2009 03:14 PM

Greg, I plan to be at the park between 9 and 9:30 to meet the county rep and get him/her to open the restrooms and turn the electricity on. My sister Theresa and friend Janet also volunteered to come early to help out. So if you get there by 9:30 it should be OK.

I asked Janet and her DH Greg M. to bring a cooler, some ice, water and/or sodas. I don't think anybody's volunteered for these necessary items yet. I have a couple coolers, too, and there is a liquor store up the street from the park that sells ice.

Dave and Greg have volunteered to handle the grilling again - oops, I guess that means we need some charcoal! Don't know how much we have here at home - will check.

gflynn August 16, 2009 09:48 PM

I do have some charcole around but not more then one bag. I could pick up another. We will bring at least a cooler for the beer. That's great that they will bring ice and soda. Did you have paper and plastic plates? I can cover the red plastic cup but if you are short on plates and plasticware I could pick some up.


Cecilia_MD7a August 17, 2009 12:50 PM

Greg, I have about 20 white paper and/or styrofoam plates from last year. I have to go shopping for bacon and other things beforehand, so I'll buy a pack of plates then to get us through until Annebert arrives with the rest of them. As far as utensils are concerned, I have some, but we're really low on forks. I can pick up a small package of utensils to tide us over until Trudi and Steve come.

Cecilia_MD7a August 19, 2009 10:09 AM

I'm getting the jitters as MAGTAG approaches. I don't know which of my plants will actually have available fruit. At this point, it looks like I'm out of Chesapeakes, and I don't think there will be any ripe Cherokee Purples & Greens. Looks like I should have some Greater Baltimore, Stupice, Hopkins, and Sungold to offer; and perhaps Hungarian Heart and Lemon Boy. We'll see what ripens in the next few days.

And of course I'm panicking about whether I'll have enough slicers for the BLT Bar, since I've depended on Greg for in the past for extra tomatoes. I asked a gardening co-worker of mine, and she says she might have some to donate. She's not sure what kind they are, since she just bought the plants at a local nursery. They look like Better Boys or something similar.

Greg, are your girls designing the tip box/jar this year? If not, let me know, since I have a box in the right size.

gflynn August 19, 2009 12:29 PM


My kids are working on the tip jar today. We are using a large plastic Costco Pretzel container that they will wrap with construction paper.

I have lots of Cherokee Green Tomatoes. In fact I have enough for the BLT Bar except that Green when ripe is not the best choice for this endeavor. I will bring them anyway as a fall back position :-)

I have some extra Paper and Plastic in case we are in trouble early. I think between the both of us we won't have a problem before others come with their goods.

I am also bringing, 5 permanent makers, Ketchup, red-plastic cups, a few rolls of paper towels (is that already covered?). I always bring my camping Action-Packers and they always have extra stuff in them we can use in a pinch.

Further, I have gotten some friends that I gave plants to give me tomatoes so I will enter them under their names and this will add to our total tomato count! I even have a co-worker who is coming with some ripe Prue for the tasting.


Cecilia_MD7a August 20, 2009 09:28 AM

The good news is, my friend from work gave me a dozen or so tomatoes for my BLT bar. She has no idea what kind they are, but I may enter some under "mystery tomato" in the tasting just for comparison (She thinks they may be Better Boy or Supersonic or both). So now I can relax.

The bad news is, they're calling for rain on Saturday. Of course, things could change - we all know how reliable those extended weather forecasts are. It's supposed to cool down a little, so it shouldn't be 90+ degrees like in 2007. We wouldn't be able to grill if it rains, unfortunately. (The rules for the park say no grilling inside the pavilion.) A possible Plan B for carnivores: There is a good BBQ joint and a decent chicken wings joint nearby - we could take a collection. Of course, we may have enough other food anyway.

More ramblings:

Remember how I mentioned that I was going to dye my (very short) hair red and green for MAGTAG? I tried the temporary haircolor the other day, and it was a disaster. It turned into a powderlike substance that rubbed off onto everything. I figured that if it got wet from sweat or rain, the stuff would run and I'd look like I was bleeding.

So I went to the beauty supply store and got a semi-permanent dye that comes out after a number of shampoos. The color I bought was cherry red, since pinkish-red would be more flattering on me than orange-red. So now my head looks kind of like a neon version of a Brandywine tomato.

Cecilia_MD7a August 21, 2009 10:39 AM

Unfortunately, we might not need any charcoal after all - the forecasts are calling for scattered storms tomorrow. Of course, they've been calling for storms all week and I think it only rained a couple of days ago. MAGTAG will go on, whatever happens! (Luckily, it's supposed to be in the lower 80s, temperature-wise.)

It looks like I will enter Sungold, Hopkins, Greater Baltimore, Hungarian Heart, and one huge Church into the tasting. Maybe more toms will ripen by tomorrow, but I doubt it. The past two weeks seem to have been the main part of my harvest. Figures.

I'm at home today, and just finished cooking 4 lbs of bacon (crispier this year, per Luanne's suggestion) for BLT purists. I'm also cooking 2 lbs of turkey bacon for folks like me who are watching our weight.

When I went shopping last night, the Walmart Supercenter in my neighborhood was out of both Duke's Mayo and Old Bay! I asked my sister Theresa to look for them today. She thinks that Food Lion, being a Southern chain, should have the Duke's, but if not, I bought Hellman's.

But no Old Bay! In Baltimore? Theresa says she'll pick some of that for me, too. Remember, the person who comes from farthest away wins a free can of Old Bay seasoning.

See you all tomorrow, rain or shine.

cdbva August 21, 2009 02:26 PM

It's raining to beat the band here. However, on the other side of Fairfax County, it may be dry.

Anyway, I'll be there tomorrow, rain or shine. Hair badly cut, sorta blonde. Tomato-colored toenails... I didn't realize, when I let them talk me into this silly color, that it would be just the thing. I wonder if they could paint little tomato faces on them? I should have asked.

Looking forward to meeting folks!


gflynn August 21, 2009 02:32 PM


My hair is just going to be brown but I may have a tomato tee-shirt :-)

I am going to bring a Gazebo for the Grill area. I got a really nice one on sale in the fall two years back. It will keep the carnavors from eating the guests.

Glad to hear you are coming rain or shine. I think this one is going to variable. We will see! I'm There, see you tomorow.


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