Monday, April 28, 2008

Nation's largest heirloom tomato tasting scheduled

Satiate your desire for old-fashioned, heirloom tomato flavors at one of the best food & wine events in California, the 17th annual NatureSweet Carmel TomatoFest®, Sunday, September 14, 2008,12:30 pm, at Quail Lodge Resort in Carmel.

Founder/Director of the TomatoFest®, Gary Ibsen, announced that of the 600 varieties of organically grown heirloom tomatoes he is growing this year, more than 350 tomato varieties, those most favored by gardeners, small farmers, chefs and produce retailers nationwide, will be displayed for tasting. "The TomatoFest attracts tomato lovers from all over the country to participate in what is probably the nations' largest and most respected tomato tasting," says Ibsen. "Aside from foodies and home gardeners, the TomatoFest also attracts commercial growers of tomatoes, whether they be growers of heirloom tomatoes or hybrids for processing into foods, or whether they be conventional, hydroponic or greenhouse growers. They come here to assess and compare the qualities of the tomato varieties."

The NatureSweet Carmel TomatoFest also offers guests the opportunity to enjoy world-class cuisine featuring heirloom tomatoes by 60 of America's finest chefs. Ibsen says, "Our gathering of culinary artists will showcase a range of unforgettable epicurean creations from classical to innovative food adventures." (see: Also featured will be 50 wineries pouring more than 200 premium wines, an "International Olive Oil Tasting," a "Salsa Showcase" tasting of 90 tomato salsas from around the U.S., and an "old-fashioned," country BBQ.

"The NatureSweet Carmel TomatoFest® entertains more than one's senses," said Ibsen. It celebrates the spirit of the season's harvest and encourages home gardeners to carry on the honored tradition of seed-saving and growing their family's own organic heirloom tomatoes. It truly is a unique community festival for food & wine lovers, chefs, family gardeners and farmers. It's a celebration of life!"

"Early Bird" tickets may be purchased in advance for $85 through May 16, 2008 for a savings of $10 off regular price. General admission tickets at $95. are available in advance up to the day of the event and are limited to 3000 guests to ensure a quality experience for all. Early ticket purchase is suggested since the event sells out every year. Ticket includes entry, all food, wine tasting, wine glasses and the day's activities. Children under the age of 12 with attending parent are admitted free. Net proceeds from the festivities are donated to regional and national youth-focused charities. Tickets may be purchased through or by calling 1-800-965-4827.

Founded and operated by Gary Ibsen in 1991, the TomatoFest® has revitalized the appreciation and desire for true heirloom tomatoes over the years. Ibsen's belief in sustainable farming and organic seed saving has inspired him to develop and grow heirloom tomato varieties for more than 30 years. For the 2008 season, he is currently growing more than 600 varieties of certified organic heirloom tomatoes from seeds originally sourced from family farms around the world. Ibsen's hands-on production and harvest techniques ensure the highest quality product from harvest to table. For more information visit or call 1-800-965-4827.

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