Tomato contest

Gardeners are used to the summertime heat and this year’s Tomato Tasting temperatures were only exceeded by Amador County’s enthusiasm for all things tomato.

The annual UCCE Master Gardeners’ Tomato Tasting, held August 24 at the Sutter Creek Farmer’s Market, drew 76 entries spread almost evenly among Red, Non-Red and Cherry tomatoes.

Two returning judges, Steve Muni and George Erdosh, as well as UCCE Central Sierra Director and 4-H Youth Development Advisor JoLynn Miller, blind-tasted, spit, smiled, and pondered over all the entries while making their final selections.

First place in Red tomatoes went to Susan Price of Sutter Creek with her Mountain Magic variety. Big Beef, grown in Ione by Susan Port and Joan Winter, took second place; and Susan Price’s Paul Robeson finished third place.

In the Non-Red category, placing first was Cherokee Green from Susan Port and Joan Winter. Noreen Goff of Sutter Creek took second place with her Big Rainbow variety. Cherokee Purple was in third place, grown by Ed Morin in Pine Grove.

The Cherry category grew to 22 entries with many gardeners bringing in some more unusual varieties like Amethyst Cream, Tumbling Tom and Chocolate Sprinkles. In the end, it was Wes Schultz of Sutter Creek placing first with Tiny Tim. Coming in second and third place was Sun Gold with second place going to Abbondanza in Plymouth and third place to Tim Jelsch, also from Plymouth.

A whopping Striped German tomato weighing in at 25.8 ounces was brought in by Joyce Jillson of Harold who was awarded the price for largest tomato at this year’s event.

Amador Master Gardeners would like to thank all the home gardeners who toiled through the summer to bring in an amazing variety of tomatoes. Perhaps, with the public tasting which followed the judging, Amador gardeners have some new varieties to try for next year. We invite you all to participate in 2020.