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

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Old March 10, 2013   #1
TheClaw
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Default Who, What, Where... Indecision 2013

I did not attend Tomatopalooza 10, mostly because of the location (Efland), and secondly because my plants gave out early.

Nonetheless, I am looking forward to the best season ever in 2013. I have started two 50 cell flats, the first one in mid February and the second one yesterday. I expect 250 seedlings or more, which is way more that I can possibly use. I was reading that in another area of the country the local group has a Plant Swap. What a cool idea! I cannot possibly plant every variety although in the past I have tried. LOL

Here's a chance for us to meet earlier in the season, like early May, and compare notes, swap, sell cheap (50 cents?), or give away seedlings. Mine will likely be in 4 inch pots, the way Craig taught me five years ago. Depending on how many people in and around the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area are interested, I might even host a plant swap in my yard in Garner NC. Is anybody interested? We do not have to limit ourselves to tomato plants. My wife suggests that any vegetable plants could be traded, etc.

But back to the main topic, my sources are telling me that Craig, Lee, and Lori, are stepping away from organizing, hosting, or arranging this years Tomatopalooza. My hope is that others will step up and make it happen anyway. And that's why I am posting this morning.

Last edited by TheClaw; March 10, 2013 at 10:15 AM. Reason: grammer and completeness
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Old March 10, 2013   #2
livinonfaith
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That could be a lot of fun! I'm not very far at all from Garner so that would be really convenient for me.

I've planted my tomato seed fairly early this year, so they may be too far along by that time. But there are sure to be at least a few leftovers, and probably some peppers and herbs. Since I usually end up with a few that need homes, this could be a great way to get them to people who would really appreciate them!

Let's see if you get any more response and, if so, go from there. Your willingness to host it would be great! Then everyone could bring a little something, like something to munch on, a couple of drinks or a cooler of ice.

Some of us that are closer could bring a table or two, maybe one of those screen tents, if one of us has one. (I think my parents do, but I'll have to check) That way we could do it without a huge monetary investment for you.

The Pot Luck Plant Swap, if you will.
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Old March 10, 2013   #3
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Okay, after reading back over my post, I realized it was a bit presumptuous and over the top!

I automatically assumed that you wanted to make this into a mini event, complete with chairs and tables. (In my mind there is also background music, maybe from a boom box?) I envisioned that we would all spend an hour or two, complete with a cool beverage and possibly chips or such, swapping plants and stories about our gardens.

You really only (possibly) offered your yard for a brief plant swap.

My imagination gets the best of me sometimes. But I was not trying to push you into doing more than you intended.

While the offer to help procure a few things still stands, I would certainly be up for a more casual exchange.

But while I'm being presumptuous, may I also suggest that you rename this thread "NC Plant Swap in May, interest?" Some of us just browse the "new posts", only clicking on things that catch our interest. That would be more likely to catch the interest of people looking for such an event.

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Old March 10, 2013   #4
TheClaw
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Hey! No problem!

I am happy knowing that there is someone with whom I share the excitement that the milder weather brings. It happens every spring.

I am open to any and all ideas regarding a Plant Swap from something simple to the sky's the limit!

Your ideas really got me thinking. Sometimes that's dangerous! LOL

It's all going to depend on how many people are interested. And it doesn't have to be in May. I just copied the idea from another group. Any time after mid April is fine with me.

It's probably a good idea to start a new thread with a better name. I still want to wait for more responses, to see what others in the Raleigh area think about either a Plant Swap or a Tomatopalooza.

Thanks for your interest!

Howard

Last edited by TheClaw; March 10, 2013 at 07:03 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old March 10, 2013   #5
livinonfaith
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Cool!

Yeah, I think that if we are focusing on tomatoes, mid to late April might be a little better.

Hopefully, most of mine will be out in their final containers by then, but it would be the perfect time to fill any last minute empty spots and to offer up the leftovers to people who are doing the same.

That would also be the perfect time to swap out all of the things that go in a couple of weeks later, like peppers.

The only thing is trying to get people away from their gardens right in the middle of the planting season!

Guess we'll just have to see what others think.
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Old March 12, 2013   #6
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Not ignoring you two on this thread.....
It's just, there's nothing to report. Deciding how to handle the event
this year is still up in the air.
The size the event has become has proven to be unsustainable given
the current participation.

I am inclined to scale it back significantly to something more laid back and sustainable.

After more consideration and a conversation with Craig, I hope we'll
have a more concrete idea of details to provide for this year.

As for the plant swap, sounds like a fine idea.

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Old April 7, 2013   #7
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Ah, the Tomatopalooza conundrum. It's a complicated situation - because, because because...

Tomato supply. Tomatopalooza originated as a way of my seedling customers, many of them unfamiliar with many of the varieties I carried, to pool their harvests, taste and learn. Over the years, even though more and more people attend, fewer and fewer of them bring tomatoes. Last year I supplied greater than 50% of the varieties - way too much risk on a single source.

Timing - related to tomato supply, probably, at least in part....when to have it with this crazy weather?

Organization - as the event has gotten larger, it has gotten more complex....but we don't have dedicated people who do this sort of thing or have time outside of life's other responsibilities. My stepping away from it is simply because I don't have the time. My daughter Sara did a lot with it last year, but she is soon to be moving to Seattle for a new job. Most of the other folks involved have families/children, jobs, etc. With an event that has grown to well over a hundred people, it isn't as simple as picking a date, showing up and tasting tomatoes.

And so......we are mulling options, but I do not wish to drive decisions - only put in my two cents worth. And since we've had ten nice events, if we do end up taking a year off, I am fine with that too.

So it has to get...smaller, or larger, or better organized, or more ad hoc. But what it can't do is stay the same, because that won't work any more, in my view.
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Old April 8, 2013   #8
livinonfaith
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Oh, come on Craig! Don't you have a couple of spare daughters hanging around just dying to take this over? You and Susan really should have planned your family a little better to make sure that the local tomato community would be supported for all eternity!

No, seriously, I have wondered how you get it all done, and especially now with your book in progress. Have to admit, since I wasn't able to attend last year, (which was the first I knew of it) there is a lingering hope that it will make a comeback at some point, in some form.

If so, I would certainly bring any tomatoes that I had available. (and anything else that I had available, for that matter.)
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Old April 8, 2013   #9
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I am sure it will come back - probably even this year. I know Jimmy and Fred already offered Efland again, which is an absolutely lovely spot. But it doesn't solve the problem of the tomato supply and the organizing staff. But....it is only early April, and Tpalooza tends to happen in late July - so lots of time to see what happens!

I am just putting of the various factors out there, so that potential attendees realize what we are grappling with.
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Old April 10, 2013   #10
TheClaw
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The silence is deafening. Since this event is actually trademarked by Lee, I doubt any real decisions can be made without his approval, and that seems to hinge on a conversation between Lee and Craig.

I'm pretty sure somebody is reading these replies, and I am still wondering if anyone else is getting off to a good start this season, whatever that means. LOL

Come on folks, let's hear what you have to say. If no one speaks up, it demonstrates a lack of involvement that signals the demise of this event. That would be sad indeed.
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Old April 10, 2013   #11
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I think that the silence is appropriate given how busy people are, lack of clarity about what this crazy season is going to do in terms of tomato ripening time, and the long run that Tomatopalooza has already seen....I am quite happy to see how things play out.
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Old April 10, 2013   #12
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OK, here's my more frank response to the status of this event.

I think the silence is also a little indicative of the current status of the
event.
It has evolved over the years from an informal get together to an almost
expected gathering that will just happen on the 4th Saturday of July.

For the past 5~6 years or so, the organization and tomato sourcing has steadily shifted to a minor few people. While the number of people attending has grown, the number contributing has stayed constant or even dropped. Folks plan to attend/bring tomatoes and then "life" happens. This is all well understood and there are no hard
feeling toward anyone for this, but quite frankly it has put a lot
of pressure on myself (the only one I can speak of to this) to ensure
that we have sufficient tomatoes for the 100+ people that come to
sample.

As Craig mentioned 70% of the tomatoes brought came from his back yard. A couple of years ago, Darrel brought (unexpectedly) about 40% of what we sampled. And I had brought 60%+ from three gardens one year.
This is unsustainable for the short and long term of this event.

So, if you ask me today about details of this event.... they are unknown.

I would expect it to be scaled back significantly though.

Please don't let this be the end of the discussion, as more comments/suggestions are welcomed.

Thanks!

Lee
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Old April 12, 2013   #13
TheClaw
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Thus far AFAIK only Lee, Craig, LivinOnFaith and myself have spoken up.

Come on folks. This is neither Craig's nor Lee's responsibility.

It can be an enjoyable and even casual get together of Tomato lovers in North Carolina, but it takes work, organization, and dedication.

TP has grown well beyond just Craig's customers and a few other friends.

Anybody other that Craig and Lee willing to step up?
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Old April 14, 2013   #14
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Please pardon me for sticking my nose into this affair, but it sounds to me like you have some
really good people who simply aren't being compensated for their time, ability, and effort.

I would say that is the problem that must be solved in order for you to continue to enjoy your
event.

All the best!
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Old April 14, 2013   #15
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No one values something they get for free. That's just human psychology. I have worked in promotions before and given away free tickets over the radio. Even to events that were nearly sold out, the percentage of ticket winners who would come to the event was about 10%. Those tickets were not important because they got them for free. The show-up rate of advance ticket purchasers was nearly 100%.

I'm thinking you should sell tickets. Make it $10-$20 per person and include dinner with the ticket. Keep a scale at the door and offer to take off $1 from the ticket price for every pound of garden heirlooms that each guest brings.
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