For Immediate Release - August 19, 2011

State Agricultural Officials to Celebrate Farmers' Market Week with the 27th Annual Tomato Contest

Media Advisory

WHAT:

On Monday, August 22, state environmental and agricultural officials will kick off Massachusetts Farmers' Market Week with the 27th Annual Massachusetts Tomato Festival and Contest at Boston City Hall Plaza, where farmers from around the Commonwealth face off in categories such as field tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, heirloom varieties, weight, shape, color and taste. The contest will be judged by a panel of food writers, chefs, cookbook authors, produce experts and state officials. Last year's contest drew nearly 100 entries.

Tomato sampling will be available for the public from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Immediately following the judging, at 12:30 p.m., Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) Commissioner Scott J. Soares will read Governor Deval Patrick's proclamation declaring August 21 to 27 as Massachusetts Farmers' Markets Week. The City Hall Plaza Farmers' Market is one of 80 across the state this year able to accept SNAP (formerly food stamps) payments. Nearly 539 farms in the Bay State produce over 6.5 million pounds of tomatoes a year with a value of $12.8 million.

WHO:

DAR Commissioner Scott J. Soares
James Arena-DeRosa, USDA Food and Nutrition Service Northeast Regional Administrator
Department of Transitional Assistance Commissioner Julia Kehoe
Jeff Cole, Executive Director, Mass Farmers Markets

WHEN:

Monday August 22, 2011 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

WHERE:

Boston City Hall Plaza Farmers' Market, along Cambridge Street

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