By Michelle Fabio
Gary Ibsen, founder and executive director of the Carmel TomatoFest in Carmel, California, loves tomato stories so much that he offers tickets to the famous festival to those with the best stories every year.
And don’t we all love great tomato stories, especially around the holidays?
The 2008 winners are as follows:
1st Place: Larry Volpe, San Jose, CA. “I teach at Seven Trees School in San Jose in a low-socioeconomic neighborhood made up mostly of Hispanic immigrants. When I started teaching I quickly noticed that the non-English speaking, immigrant community I served was reluctant to come to school. I had very few parents coming to Back to School Night, and even less would come to various other school functions. Working in the garden has changed this to the extreme….”
2nd Place: Linda Brown, San Ramon, CA. “After the yard was 100% ready to go, we’d take a drive to the nursery that was ran by the oldest man in the world…his English was poor & broken but my dad spoke to this man like they were brothers. This guy knew everything about gardens…from apples to zucchini but we were really only interested in his tomatoes. The seeds/seedlings came from the “old country” and were guaranteed to my dad to produce the best fruit you’d ever seen for making sauce. Big one pounders, sweet & meaty!!!…”
3rd Place: Rosanne Simon, Redwood City, CA. “Loving tomatoes, passionate about gardening (having read and experimented my way into it in my forties), my sister generously gave me the perfect birthday gift this past September. Originally it was to be just the two of us exiting everyday life for a fun get-away that would include the festival. As she relented to other family commitments it ended up being me and my husband that enjoyed the festival that lovely September day. What a great event!…”
You can read the full-length version of these touching tomato tales and also past winners at Tomato Love Stories.