Gwen Fowler



Eating lots of the real thing at the Tasty Tomato Festival

Posted 7/15/2012 9:03:00 PM

Do you love tomatoes -- the real ones that aren’t perfectly round but can be several shades of red, orange, yellow, green and sometimes purple?

Those tomatoes were the star Sunday night at the Tasty Tomato Festival, an annual homage to late summer’s best held at City Roots, an urban farm in the shadows of downtown Columbia that supplies local restaurants with lettuce and vegetables. Several thousand people meandered around farm listening to music and tasting dish after dish starring, of course, local heirloom tomatoes.

A friend and her daughter went and said boy, they were they good. You could taste any variety of heirloom tomato, snack on an excellent tomato sandwich and to top things off -- tomato pie. Rich and delicious. Her daughter even had a tomato brownie, which disappeared too quickly for anyone else to taste.

Some of the biggest hits were the locally made popsicles from Chill Out Pops -- this is famously hot Columbia in July, after all. Flavors such as blueberry lemonade, S.C. peach with honey and cantaloupe with ginger livened up the late afternoon crowd and kept folks a little bit cooler.

Kids also tried their skills at tomato games -- bobbing for ’maters and tomato skee ball.

Slow Food Columbia and Sustainable Midlands partner to sponsor the Tasty Tomato festival, with a mission to show people how locally grown tomatoes should really taste. And it’s a winner. If you love tomatoes, make sure to put it on your calendar for next year.