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Tomato lovers have, without exaggeration, nearly 1,000 varieties from which to choose a favorite—there are thought to be 600+ heirloom varieties alone. While every single one isn’t available locally, tomato month in ASAP’s Get Local initiative presents the opportunity to buy and taste an impressive number.
Tomatoes will abound at tailgate markets throughout August; shoppers can stock up for summer and to store for winter. And, Appalachian Grown™ partner restaurants will serve delicious dishes.
The Market Place will feature local tomatoes heavily on their menu this month. William Dissen, executive chef/owner, is currently purchasing ‘maters from at least five area farms. Look for dishes like tomato bruschetta and a colorful heirloom tomato salad.
Dissen even plans to serve local tomato cocktails at the upcoming Homegrown Tomato Contest and Party on Saturday, August 11, 2-5 pm, hosted in honor of Get Local and in partnership with ASAP. Home gardeners are invited to bring their two best tomatoes to be judged by a panel including a representative from local seed company Sow True Seed and Ingles’ dietitian, Leah McGrath. They can also bring tomatoes gone slightly awry for an Ugly Tomato Contest. Prizes include a $100 gift certificate to the Market Place, $25 Market Bucks to Asheville City Market, a pass to ASAP’s Farm Tour, and a Sow True Seed fall/winter seed collection and gift certificate. Everyone is invited to attend to enjoy the special cocktails and local tomato hors d’oeuvres, mingle with fellow gardeners and local food enthusiasts, and get great gardening advice and resources.
Tickets for the public are $20, $10 for contest entrants; contact the Market Place at (828) 252-4162 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A portion of proceeds will support ASAP. More places to get a local tomato fix are listed in ASAP’s online Local Food Guide at appalachiangrown.org.
ABOUT ASAP (APPALACHIAN SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE PROJECT)
ASAP’s mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food. To learn more about ASAP’s work, visit asapconnections.org, or call (828) 236-1282.