Yes, NOTLers, strawberries, cherries and peaches enjoy a day in the sun each year here in Canada’s prettiest town.
So, it was high time the plump red and under recognized tomato was put on stage with top billing.
The good folks at the Village organized a fun and respectful Tomato Festival, and sunny skies welcomed an inquisitive gallimaufry to their market last weekend.
(Full disclosure: The assistant Village Market organizer is marketing-oriented, an enthusiastic leader, a social media wizard, totally dependable, hard-working and always positive. And oh yes, she is my lovely daughter, Carrie.)
Fruit festivals are such a natural for our blessed agricultural terroir, and a little imagination and a lot of enthusiasm combined to provide a fun morning along Niagara Stone Road.
I arrived in my red and white Canadian flag shorts, and red Montreal Canadiens sweater, to be shocked that the vendors and organizers were dressed in blue, green or other colours. Ah well, it takes a certain personality type to figger it out, eh?
A good number of the Village Market vendors got into the spirit, weaving a tomato component into their offerings.
How about tomato-scented soap from The Hive and tomato chutney from Kim McQuhae of Gryphon Ridge Highlands?
Rose and Ken Bartel from Bartel Farms featured numerous varieties of tomatoes, both regular sized and mini sized. Sabrina had sundried tomato scones on offer.ff
Rumours the previous day were that anyone with the given name Tom would receive a special gift.
As the Tomato Festival day approached, regrets were received from Tom Selleck, Tom Brady, Tom Mulcair, Tom Voss, Tom Davis and Tom Eltoft. They had other conflicting commitments, but hoped to be at the Tomato Festival in 2024.
(By the way, did you all know that Tom Thomson, the most famous member of Canada’s revered Group of Seven, was never a member of the Group of Seven? Trust me, or look it up. Only in Canada, you say?)
The Village Market organizers had creatively dreamed up several games for folks to try. Children quickly took over and showed great sportsmanship and enthusiasm for the Tomato Shotput and the Tomato Toss.
The shotput quickly became a freestyle distance event, which resulted in squished tomatoes spread all over the field. Ah well, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
The Tomato Toss morphed from a game between teams of two into an ad-libbed cornhole contest. This game, which just might surpass pickleball as Canada’s fastest-growing sport, is easy to learn and easy to play.
Importantly, no sensitive neighbours have complained to the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake about the noise of this entertaining game. Give it time, give it time.
NOTL is a town that doesn’t miss many opportunities to provide residents and visitors with activities and recreation.
And, educational opportunities and self-enlightenment.
Is a tomato a vegetable or a fruit? I never really thought much about it, but had to do some research. The things we learn when we are out and about.
My Cassell’s English Dictionary defines tomato as the red or yellow pulpy edible fruit of a trailing plant. Originally South American and formerly called the loveplant; the plant itself.
My Collins English Dictionary and Thesaurus says tomato is a South American plant widely cultivated for its red fleshy many-seeded fruits. The fruit of this plant is eaten in salads as a vegetable.
So, I am confused. Whatever.
I’m going to the StageCoach for a delicious BLT, which is made great, and looks even better, thanks to two fresh tomato slices, slathered in mayonnaise. Brown bread, not toasted.
A tall glass of cold 2 per cent milk and coleslaw. Yum Yum. See ya later, friends.
Watch for the second annual Tomato Festival next year. Don some red clothes and get into the spirit.