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Saturday, August 03, 2013

Greater Kansas City Tomato Tasting, 5th Edition

Last year, Local Pig catered bacon for BLTs to the park we had the Tomatofest in. This year, they hosted it.

Shrewd business to be sure, get a hundred or more foodies to come to your charcuterie. I saw more than a few people leaving with boxes of the great meats Local Pig butchers. I don't know what percentage of them were new to the place, but it's a fair guess given their location that a lot of these were first time customers. Which is to say, future addicts.

The event just gets better every year. I didn't have much ripe fruit to bring myself, though I tried. A few Black Cherry, a few Sungold, a few Snow White. I did a rough count of fruits on a vine and multiplied out by 36 plants, figuring an average of maybe four ounces per tomato and I've got at least a hundred pounds of green tomatoes out there. If the event had been a week or two later, I'd have had tomatoes coming out my ears to bring.

I missed the bacon for a BLT, but they had whole roast pig on offer for sandwiches. I'm off red meat for the most part these days, but my rule is one meal a month I can splurge. If you're only going to eat red meat once a month, Local Pig is where you want to do it. I even allowed myself a couple of grains of salt on some of my tomato samples, though I'm also on a low sodium regimen.

There was also artisan olive oil and balsamic vinegar from the Olive Tree which went excellently with the umpteen varieties of tomato there to sample. I don't know the actual count, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was over 60 tomato varieties.

And of course it was great to see Todd & Julie there, it's their fault I grow these heirlooms myself. I stopped at their house after a ride a few summers back and their kitchen basically looked like this. I never knew there was such a variety of flavors, colors and shapes, and since I couldn't convince them to simply supply me with unlimited quantities of the things, I decided to get growing.

Saw lots of other friends, too, including Keith who takes all this to a whole other level, breeding tomatoes. His Kiss the Sky variation on Purple Haze was a real hit with the tasters, it's got that anthocyanin trait maxed out.

For all the yellow and bicolor tomatoes I'm hooked on growing, the black varieties really seem to have the best flavor, and I think that comes from those anthocyanin phenolics. I should probably double-down on Paul Robeson, Cherokee Purple, Black Krim, Carbon, Black Cherry, etc.

And I think I'll have to grow this guy next year, the Peter Pepper. No idea how it got it's name.

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