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Tomatopalooza™ event information and discussion forum. Held annually in the Raleigh-Durham, NC area.

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Old July 24, 2011   #1
Lee
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Default Tomatopalooza™ 9 Event and Pictures

We had over 166 different varieties represented and sampled by ~80 folks. Thanks go out to Lori and Brian for a superb job of planning and executing the event, and all of the amazing help from Tim, Lynn, and Bret! We survived the 103° heat with a little shade and plenty of water.

For me, the day was dominated by the dwarf table where we had 52 distinct varieties in various stages of selection presented. Rosella Purple was my favorite here, although Sweet Sue, Maralinga, Summertime Gold, Summertime Green, and Sweet Adelaide were additional standouts. We also had our newest dwarf F1, Brawny here with 3 F2 selections I brought. Also preset were a few from the Rosy Line (Rosy F3 and Uluru Ochre) that have a unique green/orange coloration. The red table was rather unremarkable for me. Even my Cuostralee, which I love, was not at its most flavorful. The standouts at the pinks were a large tasty Kosovo and Grandfather Ashlock. KBX was fantastic as usual in the orange/yellow category and it was fun sampling the various Cherokee Purples and Chocolates that were brought in that section. The greens were fantastic again this year, with Cherokee Green and Spear’s Tennessee Green having great flavors. The cherries sampled well again this year, but the standouts to me were Sungold Select II (about as close to the hybrid as there gets!) and Black Cherry. And of course, we had Lime Green Salad Sorbet for all to trial. It was a perfect treat for such a hot day!
It was great seeing old friends and new faces. I hope everyone had a great time, and we look forward to next year’s 10th anniversary event!

For photos, check out the links at http://tomatopalooza.org/


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Old July 24, 2011   #2
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Lee, great pics - and I have to say that although it appears to be so, I am not leading us all in a prayer for the tomatoes!

So....We had tomato-wielding guests from Southern Exposure in VA, Martha and her friend - both tomato and sorbet-wielding! - a garden author from Pennsylvania, a small group practicing their video and interview skills from a communications company in the triangle area, a photographer and editorial writer from the Independent Weekly - a Triangle area publication....wonderful event organization by Lori, Brian and her cast of assistants....long time and relatively new tomato plant customers of mine, and Tomatopalooza regulars. We had heat - but surprisingly, it felt far less hot than I expected - a breeze helped, lots of water, and preoccupation with tasting to many tomatoes mixed with all sorts of chats with fellow tomato-holics.

We had less people than usual, and I suspect that the heat kept away 25-35-50 people (the weather reports were all spinning the fear factor - and I believe we who attended may have been more comfortable than those who stayed away!).

We had a remarkable number of tomato varieties to taste - in a way, it seems 3 varieties for every attendee! The reduced attendance actually made it a more casual, relaxed, and in a way, tomato-centric affair. The sheer number of new Dwarf varieties was intimidating in terms of tracking flavors. Between the big tasting Lee and I did at my house earlier in the week, the mini tastings Sue and I have been doing - my palate, though not shot, is a bit worn. I confess to having tasted very few of the tomatoes from the indeterminate or cherry areas - I did taste the three different lines of Lucky Cross I brought (and was very pleased with). But the Dwarf varieties have ARRIVED. No longer can we assume that there is no great flavored, large fruited, interesting colored alternatives to the indeterminate heirloom types. We've managed to create in many cases their equal - if not in yield, certainly in fruit quality.

For me, those that stood out (that I can remember) are the various Cherokee Chocolates (I brought 4 - from various seed lots I've saved through the years), Cherokee Green, Martha's work in progress Chocolate Truffle (it is not yet selected or stabilized - go for it, Martha!), the three Lucky Crosses, Spears TN Green amongst the non-dwarfs....

....and for the Dwarfs (which is where I set up shop and spent most of the event, knife in hand!) - Blazing Beauty 2842 and 2851 (neither of which will be the lead selection), the red Brawny F2, Coorong Red (it is a good one, Patrina!), Dwarf Mahogany, Dwarf Russian Swirl (it showed well at this event - I find it the equal of the large indeterminate Regina's Yellow types, but not as good as Wherokowhai), Dwarf Emerald Giant, Dwarf Jade Beauty, Loxton Lass (the one I brought tasted better to me here than at home - a lovely orange tomato, but not as good as Mallee Rose or Blazing Beauty), Maralinga, Pesty Bicolor (better than Russian Swirl and larger - needs a name!), Pesty Pink, Rosella Purple, Summertime Green, Summertime Gold, Sweet Sue, Sweet Adelaide (it has the white dots on the skin - this is a nice selection!), TastyWine (perhaps the best tomato I tasted), one of the Rosy F3s with the Uluru Ochre coloring, the Uluru Ochre I brought, Tidy striped - purple fruit (very dark color), and a few of the Wherokowhai (I think it was Echo from Martha - though my selection was pretty good as well). Some of the purple fruited Frostys were good, but I was in la la land by then and can't recall them clearly!

Maybe I should note the dwarfs that didn't show well - BrandyFred, Wild Fred (shelf ripened, from a plant that was near dead at the time - was better earlier in the season), Perth Pride (wasn't fully ripe), Rosella Crimson (plants were all past their peak for these smaller fruit), Sarandipity (we have the color but not yet the best flavor), Sleeping Lady (not a bad tomato, just milder - got lost in this crowd flavor wise), Tasmanian chocolate (also got kinda lost in this crowd, and fruit a bit past).

whew....

I didn't take any pics, and posted the best of what Sue took in the other Tpalooza 9 thread last night.

Here is a link to my blog entry - where I did post some pics taken by Sue. http://nctomatoman.weebly.com/1/post...palooza-9.html - also has T shirt info. (we had more made up in other sizes/colors)

I just got finished watering - there is a TON of ripe fruit on my tomato vines - going to be a few days of canning fruit, making roasted sauce and canning, and whipping out our tomato recipes for meals!

so, next year - Tomatopalooza TEN.....the organizers need to ponder something special, methinks!
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Old July 24, 2011   #3
oc tony
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TBD I'm not at all familiar with this variety, could you give the full name. IT's listed as Best Tasting: TBD & Most Unusual: TBD in the article.
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Old July 24, 2011   #4
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I think you might be in for a "duh" moment there oc tony.

Not sure but I suspect it means To Be Determined.
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Old July 24, 2011   #5
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One other light hearted moment from the event....

To start the tasting out, Craig spoke a few words. Explaining the event, detailing the status of the dwarves, and preparing everyone for what they were about to experience. After about 7~10 minutes, he
turns to Sue to ask if he left anything out. Looking up from what she
was doing, she said "I don't know, I wasn't listening."
Would have been great to catch that on video!

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Old July 24, 2011   #6
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So you had to bring that up, Lee.....all sorts of jokes possible there....(Sue got a chuckle reading your post!)
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Old July 24, 2011   #7
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Fearless leaders & proud papas-

Craig, Lee and the Dwarf project table

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Old July 24, 2011   #8
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Great picture, Martha - thanks! My shirt is only a little sweaty at that point!

It's not hard to see the most unusually colored Dwarf we've seen yet on the left side, a few tomatoes in - several selections, actually - Uluru Ochre! It's what happens when you combine orange and black tomatoes!
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Old July 24, 2011   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nctomatoman View Post
I have to say that although it appears to be so, I am not leading us all in a prayer for the tomatoes!
LOL!

I looked at all the 2011 pics on the tomatopalooza.org site...very cool!!!


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Old July 24, 2011   #10
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My impressions of the day. Where to start, where oh, Wherokowhai do I start? First off I want to say that this event is always worth the drive and this year was no different. I agree with Craig that the heat may have kept some folks away, but we die-hards were going to be there no matter what and a little ole heat index of 115° wasn't going to factor into our decision as to whether or not we made an appearance.

After checking in my fruits and getting them situated for their glamour shots, I joined Craig and Lee as they proudly, and dare I say a bit giddily, showed off their latest generations of the dwarf project. I spent more than a few moments oohing and ahhing over all the variety of colors that were there before I pulled out my latest "baby", Chocolate Truffle, not a dwarf, for them to cootchie-coo and ogle over and to show off the fruits I had grown from the dwarf project.

OK, I confess, the reason I volunteered to wield a knife and slice & dice for tasting was purely selfish....I wanted to be able to get the choice tasting cuts on several varieties! And there were many wonderful mouthfuls to be had.

I started out at the pinks table, which included my RIPE to perfection 27oz Kosovo - which I still say would have won the largest RIPE tomato contest but some folks insisted that the contest was open to all tomatoes, even those that were just breaking color and couldn't be tasted to test whether or not it had been 'doped' ....but I digress .
Pinks of note for me were Arkansas Traveler, Burgundy Traveler and Brandywine.

None of the reds were new to me but I had a good time reminiscing about why I loved (or avoided) that variety in the past. I'm not sure if it was the heat or my taster was overloaded when I got to the reds but none of them were truly memorable.

The dwarf table then beckoned with Chocolate Truffle, not a dwarf but not eligible for seed saving, quickly becoming one that the crowd was wanting to taste along with the rest of the dwarf project. Standouts for me, other than Wherokowhai, were Blazing Beauty, Rosella Purple, Pesty Bi-Color, Summertime Green (so fruity!), Coorong Red, and TastyWine. Uluru Ochre F3 has such interesting color but the flavor is just not there yet. Lee is definitely on to something with his Brawny line...I volunteer to grow out some for you next year Lee (hint,hint).

I then took a palate break and nibbled on wonderful sourdough bread brought by Arivaraci (I'm horrible with names, all I can remember is her T'ville name, but I never forget fresh baked bread - thanks for bringing it with you), while serving up the Lime Green Salad Sorbet. It was a refreshing palate cleanser and nice way to cool off a touch in the heat. Unfortunately the aforementioned heat made the sorbet more like a slushy, then quickly a slurpee, but everyone appeared to enjoy their taste of tomato dessert.

Back to work....
The orange table allowed for a side by side comparison of Kellog's Breakfast and KBX. To my palate KB was milder and not as deep flavored as KBX but then again I tend to lean towards the assertive and multi-layer flavored ones. KB is still a delightful tomato but if it was mixed up in a multi color salad I think it would get overshadowed by more assertive greens and bi-colors. Other orange standouts were from the cherry table with Sungold Select II coming awfully close to tasting like Sungold F1.

I don't recall the yellows being memorable...nothing was a spitter, but nothing really grabbed my attention either. A new to me variety, Mountain Gold, did have me reaching for a second piece - I was pleasantly surprised at how much more of a balanced flavor it had compared to other yellows and golds.

More confession time....I spent way too much time at the bi-color table. Most of them were sooooo good! Lucky Cross, you are on my must grow in 2012 list as are you Hillbilly West Virginia. However Pink Berkeley Tie-Dye- you are on my 'not worth the space' list. Not quite a spitter to me, but close.

After grabbing a few Mexico Midget cherries to snack on I made my way back to the dwarf table for more tasting and eavesdropping on what folks were saying about the dwarves and Chocolate Truffle.

My palate was numb at that point so tasting was merely for hydration and generalized enjoyment of all things tomato. Being unable to taste another slice, my friend, Dianna and I wandered off around the lake in search of a couple of geocaches and an opportunity to catch a breeze off the water while taking a walk through the woods. After one unsuccessful DNF and a successful find, we arrived back at the shelter to find that most folks had departed and clean up was underway. I snagged and bagged a few fruits for seed saving and spent a few moments debriefing with the organizers over the best tasting tomatoes, (I liked too many to just choose one) and overall impressions of the day (Great as usual but it was time to beat it out of the heat).

Thank you again everyone for all the effort and hours your put into organizing this annual event. I'm already making plans for next year. Until then, see you on the boards!
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Old July 25, 2011   #11
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Just to give a bit of back story on the Lucky Crosses that made an appearance. They are all part of my old seed growout crew of this year - all from 2002.

The ones I brought were 02-59, 02-55 and 02-62. The fourth I grew, 02-57, hadn't ripened yet.

The seeds in all three of the Lucky Cross tomatoes at Tomatopalooza are F8 generation - pretty well stabilized (I can't believe they were already F8 in 2002!).
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Old July 25, 2011   #12
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Enjoyed the pics and the reports, thanks everyone! Holey Moley that's a BIG Brawny Lee!!

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Old July 25, 2011   #13
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Great set of pics from Brian Sadler - http://www.pbase.com/bms44974/tp2011

Tomato pics are spectacular! Thanks, Brian!
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Old July 25, 2011   #14
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Great pics and comments by all. I sure wished I lived closer!!
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Old July 25, 2011   #15
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Sounds like an excellent event again this year! Ionly hope the heat drops a bit for ours in 12 days
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