For Immediate Release - August 18, 2009

Massachusetts Tomato Festival Draws 72 Entries

Farmers from Concord, Granby and Pepperell Take Top Honors in 25th Annual Event

BOSTON - Despite a challenging season for tomato growers, dozens of tomato farmers from around the Bay State converged on City Hall Plaza today to show off the fruits of their labors in the Commonwealth's 25 th Annual Tomato Festival. A highlight of the kickoff celebration for Massachusetts Farmers' Markets Week, this year's festival drew 72 entries.

Top prizes went to Concord's Macone Farm (Slicing and heirloom), Granby's Red Fire Farm (Cherry), and Pepperell's Kimball Fruit Farm (heaviest). A full list of contest winners is attached. Entries were judged by a panel of food writers, chefs, cookbook authors, grocers, state officials and gardening experts.

"The nearly 200 farmers' markets throughout the Commonwealth are a vital part of our state's culture and tradition," said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles. "With farmers' markets, roadside stands, and pick-your-own farms, consumers can access fresh, local fruits and vegetables, while supporting the Massachusetts agriculture industry at the same time."

Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner Scott Soares began the award ceremony by reading Gov. Deval Patrick's proclamation declaring August 16 through 22 Massachusetts Farmers' Market Week, and praising hard-working Massachusetts farmers for supplying citizens throughout the Commonwealth with local goods, despite the weather-related farming challenges this summer.

"This year we have seen some very unusual weather patterns which have certainly had an impact on this season's tomato crop," said Commissioner Soares. "But we are also still seeing a good supply of healthy tomatoes that made for a stiff competition at this year's tomato contest."

In addition to presentation of awards, today's Tomato Festival included tomato tasting, recipes, and information on nutrition and local farms. The festival and contest are sponsored by the DAR, New England Vegetable and Berry Growers Association, and Federation of Massachusetts Farmers' Markets, in cooperation with the City of Boston Property Management Department.

The list of this year's winners is below.

Massachusetts Tomato Contest Winners, 2009

SLICING CATEGORY

Entry

Farm Name

Town

Variety

Place

18

Macone Farm

Concord

Orange Blossom

1

1

Volante Farms

Needham

Early Girl

2

21

Ward's Berry Farm

Sharon

Tommande

3

13

MacArthur Farm

Holliston

Trust

4

2

Red Fire Farm

Granby

Buffalo

5

10

Noquochoke Orchards

Westport

Lemon Drop

6

17

Macone Farm

Concord

Scarlet

7

5

Cape Abilities

Hyannis

Trust 2

8

9

Kimball Fruit Farm

Pepperell

Sunbrite

9

14

MacArthur Farm

Holliston

Caruso

10

CHERRY CATEGORY

Entry

Farm Name

Town

Variety

Place

2

Red Fire Farm

Granby

Sungold

1

6

Freitas Farm

Middleboro

Supersweet 100

2

14

Connors Farm

Danvers

Sweet Million

3

4

Wilson Farm

Lexington

Sungold

4

20

Verrill Farm

Concord

Sungold

5

3

Red Fire Farm

Granby

Supersweet 100

6

7

Kimball Fruit Farm

Pepperell

Sun Sugar

7

1

Silvermine Farm

Sutton

Sweet 100

8

13

Connors Farm

Danvers

Golden Honey

9

5

Freitas Farm

Middleboro

Sungold

10

HEIRLOOM CATEGORY

Entry

Farm Name

Town

Variety

Place

13

Macone Farm

Concord

Macone Farm non-a

1

14

Verrill Farm

Concord

Carbon

2

9

Farmer Dave's at Brox Farm

Dracut

Brandywine

3

19

Ward's Berry Farm

Sharon

Paul Roman

4

15

Verrill Farm

Concord

Moskvitch

5

2

Red Fire Farm

Granby

Cherokee Purple

6

17

Ward's Berry Farm

Sharon

Evergreen

7

5

Cape Abilities

Hyannis

Cherokee Purple

8

8

Kimball Fruit Farm

Pepperell

Carbon

9

16

Verrill Farm

Concord

Black Prince

10

HEAVIEST

4

Kimball Fruit Farm

Pepperell

Big Rasberry

2.25

1

9

Verrill Farm

Concord

Aussie

1.95

2

1

Red Fire Farm

Granby

Striped German

1.71

3

8

Macone Farm

Concord

Macone Farm non-a

1.45

4

5

Farmer Dave's at Brox Farm

Dracut

Brandywine

1.38

5

2

Cape Abilities

Hyannis

Brandywine

1.37

6

6

East Street Farm Stand

Tewksbury

Sunstart

1.29

7

7

Connors Farm

Danvers

Big Beef

1.12

8

The DAR's mission is to ensure the long-term viability of local agriculture in Massachusetts. Through its four divisions - Agricultural Development, Animal Health, Crop and Pest Services, and Technical Assistance - the DAR strives to support, regulate, and enhance the Commonwealth's agricultural community, working to promote economically and environmentally sound food safety and animal health measures, and fulfill agriculture's role in energy conservation and production.