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Fairview Gardens Hosting Homegrown Tomato Contest

The Aug. 22 Harvest Festival will include plenty of other festivities, including a garden exchange

Calling all gardeners: It’s time for some friendly competition.

Fairview Gardens will host its annual Harvest Festival and Homegrown Tomato Contest on Aug. 22, and you’ve never seen a contest quite like it. Amateur gardeners from all over Santa Barbara County will bring their homegrown rubies for a chance win the fame and glory of the Best Homegrown Tomato in Santa Barbara.

The tomato that takes home the grand prize will be the best tasting and will be deemed “Best in Show.” But we also have three more categories for the backyard gardener that grows “Average Joe” tomatoes. Contestants can win the “People’s Choice Award,” and awards for “Good Looks” and “Character.” The tomato with the best looks will speak for itself, but the tomato with the best character is open to interpretation.

Last year, the winner took home the prize with a sculpture of a tomato-man fishing with a green bean pole. And last year’s Best In Show was an heirloom variety called “Brandywine.” (This year, place your bets on “Cherokee Purples.”)

This year, the contest prizes include gift certificates to Island Seed & Feed, the Isla Vista Food Co-op and Sojourner Restaurant.

The Harvest Festival also will have a garden exchange, which is a place to exchange abundant backyard crops with neighbors’ backyard bounty. Some people bring lemons or avocados. Other people have orange or apricot trees. If you have some extra produce hanging off your trees, bring a few for a chance to share them.

The Harvest Festival will offer something for everyone. Besides the Homegrown Tomato Contest and the Garden Exchange, there will also be live music and interactive tours. Visitors will be able to ask questions to farmers, watch worm wiggles and listen to wild birds.

So pack a picnic, a blanket and your best tomato for a chance to win.

— Melissa Gomez is the marketing manager for the Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens.

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