Tasty Tomato Magic from Thackeray Farms on Wadmalaw Island, SC

Dear America,

Today my colleagues and I are throwing a giant tomato festival in Columbia, South Carolina. Giant for us, anyway. Expecting anywhere from 2000-3000 people at City Roots urban farm, and there's not a cloud in the sky. Good juju.

Clockwise from left: Homestead tomatoes from Sumter Organic Co-op, then Cherokee Purple, German Striper, and Red Brandywine tomatoes from Thackeray Farms on Wadmalaw Island, SC, for the Heirloom Tomato Taste Test at The 3rd Annual Palmetto Tasty Tomato Festival, July 15 2012 at City Roots farm.

I will say this: our team at Slow Food Columbia, one of the festival's two presenting organizations, researched and procured 700 lbs of heirloom tomatoes for our Heirloom Tomato Taste Test, an integral part of The Palmetto Tasty Tomato Festival.

The bonus? They're from Shawn Thackeray's farm on Wadmalaw Island, SC, near Charleston. You may have read about him in The New York Times or Garden and Gun, or seen his 'maters on Chef Sean Brock's menu at McCrady's or Husk.

You know, no big deal. Just one of the best tomato purveyors in the country, growing on one of the most legendary tomato growing islands in all the land.

Big ups to Tasty Tomato Festival host committee member April Jones and to City Roots Farm Manager Eric McClam for doing the legwork, research and 'mater procurement. Eric, my fellow board member at Slow Food Columbia, is going to be our delegate to Slow Food International's Terra Madre event this Fall, one of only 5 from the Southeast!

Our sustainable chefs here in Colatown have been matering it up on our behalf all week, btdubs.

From judging and providing hors d'oeuvres to the Tasty Tomato Contest judging last Wednesday (Executive Chef Tim Peters, Motor Supply Co. Bistro; Chef/Owner Kristian Niemi, Rosso Trattoria; and the team at Rosewood Market & Deli) to throwing down apps at the VIP tomato potluck later today at the festival (Chef/Owner Ryan Whittaker, @116;  Chef/Owner Mike Davis, Terra; Chef/Owner Alex Suaudom du Monde, Baan Sawan; Chef/Owner Ricky Mollohan, Mr. Friendly's).

Our Slow Food Columbia potlucks are becoming the stuff of legend. People bring really cool stuff.

We have also been particularly stringent about our food vendors for the festival. Each vendor has to have at least one sustainable ingredient on their menu, and these guys should have no problem making that happen, as they are kindof the cream of the crop around here:

Chill Out Pops handmade popsicles, Bone-In Artisan BBQ on Wheels (fancy Q and such), Rosewood Market (tomato sandwich bar), Pawleys Front Porch food truck (burger-licious), Good Life Cafe (raw, vegan), and Spotted Salamander Catering, the only full-service caterer in the state that uses 25% or more locally sourced product. Love those guys.

Last year, El Burrito did amazing 'mater sandwiches, and this year it's Rosewood Market. Stoked!

I am excited. Despite going to bed past midnight, I was up at 6am thinking about easels and clipboards and punch bowls.

Cause 'maters matter!

Plenty of regular price tickets will be available at the gate at 5pm,  so should you happen upon this post today, Sunday July 15, 2012, put on your farm-casual party pants and come on down.

The Palmetto Tasty Tomato Festival
Sunday July 15, 2012
$15 gate
$20 “Supporter” ticket & covered tomato dish w/sustainable ingredient grants access to special VIP tomato potluck at 4pm.
Kids 12/under free with adult

$5 early advance discount $5 and $10 advance discount levels sold out, thank you!

City Roots urban farm
1005 Airport Blvd, Columbia SC 29205
Free parking
MAP:                http://bit.ly/CityRootsMap



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