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Ken B September 7, 2014 12:24 PM

Heritage Harvest Festival, Charlottesville, VA, Sept 2015
The Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello is coming up, Sept 12-13 -- [URL][/URL]

There'll be a big tomato (and peppers and melons and herbs) tasting on Saturday -- [URL][/URL] -- we (Southern Exposure Seed Exchange) will be bringing at least 50 tomato varieties, and if anyone would like to bring their own, use the email address at the link above to let us know! (Or post here, and I'll let the tomato tasting folks know.)

Several Tomatoville folks will be presenting, ones I know of = Craig LeHoullier's giving tomato talks on Friday and Saturday, Ira Wallace is giving alliums and general gardening talks on Friday and Saturday, Rodger Winn's giving seed saving talks on Friday and Saturday, and I'm giving a talk Saturday on fall/winter vegetables. (Craig's got a talk at the same time as mine -- see his if you get the chance, he's got wonderful photos!!)

Saturday I'll mostly be hanging out at the SESE booth when I'm not at my talk, stop by if you want to say hi! Rodger'll be over at the Seed Swap that's happening on Saturday morning. Ira will be hustling and bustling about *everywhere* but probably she'll mostly be around the tomato tasting, and I bet Craig will be stopping by the tomato tasting for a while...

linzelu100 September 7, 2014 01:24 PM

We are going and very excited!

Ken B September 15, 2014 06:37 AM

Hope you were able to make it! It rained a bit in the morning, and that kept attendance down some, but the sun came out later on, and folks seemed to enjoy themselves.

Ken B July 1, 2015 11:45 AM

This year's is Fri Sept 11th-Sat Sept 12th! -- [URL=""][/URL]

The tomato tasting will be on Saturday, Sept 12th. Should be 75-100 varieties this year. After Craig's book came out this winter, Ira had the idea of wanting to spotlight tomatoes mentioned in Craig's book. So besides some 20-30 varieties that SESE already carries that were mentioned in Craig's book, Craig sent us seedstock for another 10-15 varieties we don't currently offer, so we'll also have ones like Ferris Wheel, Green Giant, Mexico Midget, Aker's West Virginia, Nepal, etc. at the tasting this year.

(We do our main tomato planting later so that our tomato plants will be in better shape for this September tasting event, and a few other September tastings, so we actually didn't put out our seedlings til early June -- this way they hold up better in the July heat and are still fine and healthy in September.)

There's also some special tomato event on Thursday afternoon featuring Craig and Ira and Nan Chase -- [URL=""][/URL]

Ken B September 10, 2015 01:56 PM

Festival weekend is here! Forecast has been going back and forth, currently it's forecast to be dry all day tomorrow, then some chance of rain Saturday morning, with greater chance in the afternoon.

If anyone wants to say hi, I'll be at the Southern Exposure booth most of the day, with a break at 1 PM to give a talk on fall/winter vegetable gardening.

We've got lots of tomatoes! Our plants have been getting more diseases the last week or so, but they're still in good enough shape that we'll have a ton to bring to the tasting...

Ken B September 14, 2015 10:22 AM

... and ended up being some rain in the morning, but then dry the rest of the day, so not actually as bad as the forecast had looked, but did mean for lower turnout than usual. Still, went pretty well!

We bring a lot of tomatoes that we're trialing to the tomato tasting, and one of the ways we find out how much people like them is when they go over to the seed racks and look and ask if we've got them... So the most popular trial varieties this year were all cherry tomatoes -- Mexico Midget and 3 different black cherry types (Black Cherry, Chocolate Cherry, and Negro Azteca). I think I like Negro Azteca the best of the 3 black cherries we grew this year.

fonseca September 16, 2015 11:13 PM

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I thoroughly enjoyed the festival! This was my first time going since I moved to Raleigh. Great job on the tasting. I found several varieties new to me that I look forward to growing next year.

I spent a lot of time waiting to look for seeds, and it was difficult to tell which varieties didn't have seeds available, or if a careless peruser had put a packet in the wrong place and covered them up.

My favorite by far was the Pisa Date. Fantastic little tomato with lots of sweetness and full tomato flavor. Bought several packs. My brother does not like raw tomatoes, so even he was surprised that he liked this one.

Runners up:

-Chocolate cherry: very similar to black cherry in flavor and appearance, which I grew this year and it will return for sure. I would have purchased seeds if they were available.

-Tropic: acceptable (above average) flavor, advertized as highly disease-resistant so I want to find seeds. Did not see them on the rack.

-Mountain Magic: Good flavor and size for salads. Was told seeds were available but did not see any.

-Bisigano #2: Excellent flavor and texture. If this is a paste tomato, it's the first good one I've ever had. Did not see seeds. It wants to be my pizza sauce.

-Dr. Carolyn: I grew this one years ago and enjoyed it, but didn't save seeds. Did not see seeds on the rack.

-Cherokee Green: I have grown Cherokee Purple for 9 years in a row. I had no idea how different the green cultivar was in flavor. Has a lot of bite, very acidic taste but delicious. I think it would make a great salsa. Bought seeds!

Matt's Wild Cherry: I thought this one would taste like Mexico Midget, but Matt's has a sweeter, more subtle flavor. Bought seeds.

There were a lot of other fantastic tomatoes, but these were the ones that were new to me that I really liked.

Finally, the Doe Hill pepper was so delicious I had to go back and try it again. Did not see seeds, but I will grow this next year for sure. It was sweet with a very complex flavor. This will replace Paradicsom Alaku Sarga Szentes Pepper in my garden if it yields better. It is that good.

nctomatoman September 21, 2015 09:41 AM

It was a really good event, though attendance was down a bit from previous years (my feeling - and Ira and I discussed this a fair bit - happening on the same weekend as the big heirloom festival in California, and very iffy weather with heat, humidity and thunderstorms prevalent, or at least threatening). All three of my workshops and book signings were fun and went well, Sue and I got to stay in a really cool airbnb - and as always, walking around Monticello is simply incredibly inspiring for gardeners.

MrsJustice September 21, 2015 12:41 PM

[QUOTE=nctomatoman;505953]It was a really good event, though attendance was down a bit from previous years (my feeling - and Ira and I discussed this a fair bit - happening on the same weekend as the big heirloom festival in California, and very iffy weather with heat, humidity and thunderstorms prevalent, or at least threatening). All three of my workshops and book signings were fun and went well, Sue and I got to stay in a really cool airbnb - and as always, walking around Monticello is simply incredibly inspiring for gardeners.[/QUOTE]

If I know you was going to be there I would have asked my Husband to take me. I love your New Book and it came very fast. I think many of us farmers in Virginia was saving our crops from the hot summer heat. I would Love to Dance and Sing with my Historical Tomatoes and Vegetables. I want to be there next year, Amen!!

My weekend performance dancing with my fruits and Vegetables, I was truly praying for my 'Moons and Stars Watermelon Crop to Survive'.

Farmer Joyce Beggs

Ken B September 25, 2015 02:55 PM

hi fonseca -- belated reply, sorry, our rural internet's been acting up and gotten me way behind -- thanks for the notes!!

-- Red Pisa Date -- glad you liked! I think it's a neat one.

-- Chocolate Cherry -- it's really interesting looking at our trial patch, all 3 black cherry varieties look really similar as far as color/fruit size/growth/disease resistance, but they've all got slightly different flavor. I like Negro Azteca the best, but they're all pretty good!

-- We did have Tropic VFN and Dr. Carolyn's on the seed rack, but guess they got lost in the shuffle. We've had folks suggest that we make sure to alphabetize them, and also had folks suggest that we make clearer which varieties we carry and which ones we're trialing.

-- We don't carry Mountain Magic -- the person who told you probably got it mixed up with Mountain Princess, which we did have that day -- Fedco and other folks do carry it. I really like it, good flavor and good disease resistance.

-- We've got some Bisignano #2 seeds, it'll be in the next catalog, will put it online in the next few weeks.

-- And glad you liked Doe Hill! Didn't bring seeds for it since I didn't know that another farm was going to be bringing fruits for the tasting.

Ken B September 8, 2016 09:08 AM

Belated note that HHF is coming up this weekend -- [URL][/URL] -- weather looks nice for it -- Craig and Rodger are both giving talks on Friday and Saturday, and there's the usual big tomato tasting on Saturday.

Some interesting tomatoes we'll have out for tasting = dwarfs (Rosella Purple, Dwarf Wild Fred, Summer Sweet Gold, Dwarf Emerald Giant, and Geranium Kiss -- the last one bred by Alan Kapuler). Rutgers 250. Black Centiflor, Yellow Centiflor, and Red Centiflor (all cherries bred by Alan Kapuler). Some more of Craig's favorite heirlooms that we don't already carry (Nepal, Ferris Wheel, Polish).

Generally, should be nice big tasting, at least 100 tomatoes, 15-20 sweet peppers, some melons, bunch of different herbs... lot of work, but looking forward to!!

nctomatoman September 8, 2016 09:09 AM

Howdy Ken - thanks for posting this....glad to see the dwarfs (how do folks there like them?)

We are about to hit the road - see you on Fri or Sat!

Ken B September 18, 2016 09:24 AM

This year's HHF was great -- turned out to be super hot, got up to 95, and even under the tents, I was sweating by 10 AM. But, nice and sunny, and folks seemed to enjoy themselves.

I was looking forward to the tomato tasting as a chance to try all our tomatoes... but was super busy all day, and by 5 PM when I could finally catch a breath, I just couldn't muster the energy/enthusiasm to go through and try 100 tomatoes. So, I'm making a point to snack on some different varieties from our patch every day.

Some favorites from the tastings (based on the number of seed packets folks bought):
Cherry -- Amy's Apricot, Matt's Wild Cherry, Coyote
Slicing -- Cherokee Purple, Garden Peach, Green Zebra, Mortgage Lifter VFN

nctomatoman September 18, 2016 09:40 AM

Yes indeed - great festival! So, so, so hot - Sue and I were thrilled to see such a large crowd - loved doing my two workshops. I never even made it to the tasting tent was all quite a blur.

Any comments on the dwarf tomatoes that you had there?

Are you going to be at the CFSA in Durham, Ken, in November?

MrsJustice September 19, 2016 03:04 PM

Hello everyone.

I will always miss everyone. Operating a Farm and Business with Dyslexia takes all of my time:yes:., Amen:love:.

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