Farmers Market to host tomato tasting this Thursday

By Jason A. Smith
Times Correspondent

Summer and tomatoes – two words that just seem to go together.

That’s the premise behind a tomato-tasting event set for Thursday as part of the Henry County Farmers Market, in the Jason T. Harper Event Center at Heritage Park in McDonough. Tasting will begin by 11 a.m., said Frank Hancock, agriculture and natural resource agent for the University of Georgia Extension Office in McDonough.

A participant samples the selections at last year’s tomato tasting. Photo by Seth Jackson

“We’ll probably start around 10:30 because it takes a while to cut the tomatoes and get them ready,” added Hancock. “We’ve got somewhere around 15 different varieties. Tomatoes are going to be prepared, washed and iced down by members of the Henry County Master Gardeners.”

He said the competition has been a staple of the Farmers Market for several years, with a good response from the community.

“In this time of year, they’re all ripe, so there’s a big supply of tomatoes right now,” said Hancock. “People are always asking ‘what does this one taste like,’ ‘what does this one taste like.’ So we’re going to let them decide.”

Vendors from McDonough who have already signed up for the event include: Russell Brydson of Narrow Way Farms; Veronica and Jeff Burns; Arlie Watkins; and Gary West of Westworthy Farm. They will be joined by fellow competitors Sue Kilgore of Hampton, Carolyn Runion of Locust Grove, Paula Robertson of Covington, Charles Holton of Villa Rica, Mangham Farms in Molena, Ga., and one entry from the Extension Office.

The competition will take the form of a blind taste-test. Hancock said visitors will be able to sink their teeth into tomatoes from numerous local farms, though they won’t know whose tomatoes they’re tasting.

“They’ll have to read The Henry County Times to find out what they tasted,” he said. “We’ll announce the top three choices in the next edition of the Times.”

Heritage Park is located at 97 Lake Dow Road in McDonough. For more information, call the Extension Office at 770-288-8421.