Monday, June 13, 2022

Tomato Fest – 2022


And, now, more information about The Wharton Garden Club’s Tomato Fest 2022 and tomatoes, than you might want to ever know. 

Personally, I am certain each and everyone out in blogland is eagerly awaiting all the glorious information.  Onward

A short history –

I moved to Wharton in 2004.  The big question I’m always asked is - - - WHY?  Well because it was the location my husband and I could agree on.  I wanted to move one place; he another; this was the compromise.  ANYWAY, in an effort to meet people and become a part of the town, I joined the garden club in 2004 and by 2007, I was president.  Believe me when I tell you it was not because any ambition on my part.  Simply “young blood” willing to help in any way.  My VP, decided we needed to extend our meetings from September – May to September – June and add a tomato contest. 

And voilà the WGC Tomato Fest was born.

Originally it was a taste test.  Everyone brought tomatoes, we cut them in small chunks, then all the members  tasted each entry and voted on The Best Tasting Tomato in Wharton County.

Then, in 2020 The Plague struck

and we canceled. 

When we started up again, 2021, the Tomato Fest changed from Best Tasting to a Beauty Contest.  After the 2021 festivities, the inventor – the father – the host – the Master of Ceremonies Extraordinaire announced he would be retiring (primarily because he was moving across the universe to the east side of Houston).  End of History.

Somehow, I got snookered into taking on the 2022 Tomato Fest.  I decided on a Beauty Contest again and promptly called the “Father of the WGC Tomato Fest” and begged, pleaded, beseeched, implored, cried (maybe even produced a tear or two), possibly threatened a little him to come back and be, once again, the Master of Ceremonies.  He agreed – YAY! 

This year was The Tomato Fest of the Most and we had three major categories – Cherries and Smaller (Most Beautiful, Most Ugly, Most Unusual); Not a Cherry (Most Beautiful, Most Ugly, Most Unusual, Most Juicy), and Size (Most Big by Weight, Most Small by Size). 

Sadly, THIS YEAR has been a terrible growing season.  Here on the Gulf coast plains, we can and do plant our tomatoes early – like late February.  It’s usually a bit of a gamble – plant too early and we might be surprised by a devastating freeze; too late and it will get too hot to quickly and the tomatoes won’t produce.  Late February is usually good, however this year we had a very late freeze in early March.  Only lasted a day or so BUT, I swear to god, the very next week it turned 90°.  Argh!  This was not conducive to growing many and lots of tomatoes.

We did have entries – more than I thought we’d have; fewer than I hoped we’d have

Most Big, Most Small. 

In past years, the First Place Winners were awarded this -

Well, okay but don’t those things just get stuck in some book someplace??  I decided on something else.  THIS year, each First Place Winner got this

Yep, a perfect tomato that will last forever!

Hold on, we’re getting close to the end.

A Few Fun Facts
1 Tomatoes are world’s most popular fruit. With annual production of 60 million tons, they remain the world’s most demanded and most popular fruit.
2 According to the US Dept of Agriculture, there are over 25,000 varieties of tomatoes!
3 Ohio has declared the tomato as the State Fruit.  However, the state of New Jersey has made the tomato as its State Vegetable.  And finally, Arkansas considers the tomato as both its State Fruit AND State Vegetable. 
4 The tomato is a cousin of the eggplant, red pepper, ground cherry, potato, tobacco, and the highly toxic belladonna.
5 Tomatoes can keep longer if you store them with their stem down.  Who knew???

So what do the tomato experts say helps plants product the best tomatoes?
1 Baking soda naturally sweetens the taste of tomatoes. It’s perfect to add as a fertilizer throughout the season and can be mixed into the soil at planting time also.
2 Aspirin will actually help your tomato plants grow. The salicylic acid in aspirin will protect your plants from blight and other diseases.  Put 2 or 3 tablets in with your plant.
3 Eggshells! The high calcium content in the shells will ensure you grow the best tomatoes and keep them well fed with all the calcium they need for the whole season.

And finally, a couple of tomato jokes –

Does Santa like to grow tomatoes?
YES -- he gets to hoe, hoe, hoe!

Do tomatoes and potatoes have anything in common?
O course - Toes.

What did Arnold Schwarzenegger say to his tomato seeds after watering them for the first time?
You’ve been germinated.

(aren’t you sorry you weren’t here for the Fest and fun????)


(okay – think about it – it might take a minute or so ………)


13 Jun 2022


  1. That last comic - groan! We've tried twice to grow tomatoes since we moved back home to NC. No luck - they get some sort of blight. Very sad.

  2. This was a very interesting read today. I didn't know about the tomato being the most popular fruit but when you think about it, yeah, it is.

  3. I enjoyed this post so much! Baking soda? You just use it as a fetilizer, just mix it in the soil? Who knew. I use eggshells around squash to discourage snails, they don't like to crawl over them and therefore leave the plants alone. Being able to plant tomatoes at the end of February - wow! This year I planted mine at the beginning of June because I was away in May - June, of course, is very late, but I'm still hoping it will work out. We had some pretty hot days right after I had planted them, that might be the explanation why they haven't really grown so far. Very interesting (and funny) read, thank you.