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Tomatoes Ready to Take Center Stage at Fourth 'Tomadah Paradah'

229 Varieties to Be Featured at Aug. 17 Event

August 9, 2013

Picking from the Fletcher Hybrids variety of tomato are summer student workers Brik Anderson, a 2008 WC graduate that is studying plant science at Utah State University, and Allison Black, a senior at the College majoring in agribusiness.

Picking from the Fletcher Hybrids variety of tomato are summer student workers Brik Anderson, a 2008 WC graduate that is studying plant science at Utah State University, and Allison Black, a senior at the College majoring in agribusiness.

A veritable parade of tomatoes in a rainbow of colors and myriad of shapes, sizes and tastes will be featured Saturday (Aug. 17) at the fourth annual Tomadah Paradah, from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Wilmington College Farm at 1594 Fife Ave.

The event is designed to appeal to the entire realm of tomato-lovers — from casual consumers of BLTs to growers and connoisseurs of southwestern Ohio’s summer’s favorite fruit.

It will feature most of the 229 varieties of tomatoes being grown this summer at WC by agriculture professor Monte Anderson, farm manger Randy Gerber and their student workers. Wilmington College and Swindler & Sons Florists are co-sponsoring the event.

Anderson explained this summer’s fickle weather has played into the dynamics of tomato growing in both positive and negative ways.

“It went from cool and wet to a hot spell and then cool and wet again,” he said, noting this has facilitated impressive growth and a bumper crop of tomatoes. “The fruit looks good. We’ve never had plants get this big — many have outgrown the tomato stakes.”

However, with the weather fluctuations came an airborne blight that affected some of the varieties, yet didn’t touch most. Some plants are withering while most are thriving.

“That’s good for us from an educational viewpoint because we can see the varieties withstood the blight,” Anderson added.

Those attending the Tomadah Paradah will have an opport- unity to taste scores of varieties of tomatoes, in addition to hear expert commentary and tour the College Farm’s tomato groves.

In addition, Anderson is excited to show the College’s commitment to sustainability as evidenced by the Agriculture Department’s new hi-tunnel greenhouse, irrigation system and a rainwater collection structure, the latter of which yields 2,200 gallons of water for every inch it rains on the barn roof. The water is pumped to a hydrant in the greenhouse and available to irrigate the nearby vegetable crops.

Also, several competitions will be featured at the Tomadah Paradah.

For the home-grower, prizes will be awarded for the heaviest tomato, as well as the best-tasting tomato and cherry tomato.

Swindler & Sons, 321 W. Locust St., will be weighing tomatoes at their Garden Center through noon Aug. 17. Those interested in the best tasting contest can bring their entries to Swindlers Aug. 15 or 16, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Another attraction will be the annual Tomadah Paradah 5K Run/Walk. Competitors can register at the College Farm that evening prior to the 6:30 p.m. start of the race or before race day at <tinyurl.com/tomatorunsignup>. Registration is $15 and includes a T-shirt.