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Hoboken Heirloom Tomato Festival

(post, John Dryzga)

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Hoboken loves it festivals. Art, religion, ancestry, and just plain good times are celebrated with equal gusto here in the Mile Square City. Every August for the past 10 years, Jersey's favorite summer crop gets the spotlight.

The Heirloom Tomato Festival is a low key affair, only occupying the passage way in front of the Hoboken Historical Museum. The physical size of the festival does not seem to diminish the buzz it generates judging by the lengthy queue of people waiting to pay for their bags of summer's bounty. An equally long queue was formed at the highlight of the festival, the tasting table. There, spread out in a sea of reds, yellow, purples and greens were about 25 varieties of heirloom tomatoes cut up for your tasting pleasure. Pink brandywines, ramapos, yellow plum, mortgage lifters and others formed a gastronomic gauntlet for the festival goers to taste their way though. Each bite added to the lively discussion of the pros and cons of each variety.

The festival would not happen without the Catalpa Farms in Wantage, NJ. They provided the 1,000+ pounds of tomatoes along with corn, peppers, garlic, tomatillos and other products of their land. This is an event where everyone is a winner. The people get access to wonderful, locally grown produce. By buying the produce, the people support the farm and the Hoboken Historical museum.

The late blight has played havoc with the tomato harvest in the Northeast. It was great to see one of NJ's icons, the tomato, alive , well and ready for its closeup.