By Matt de Simone
Summertime in Botetourt County means warm weather, outdoor events, and tomatoes.
On Saturday, July 31, the Botetourt Farmers Market takes the sun, the vendors, and the vegetable (or fruit, depending on the source), combining them all into the first Botetourt Tomato Festival.
That morning, local marketgoers, neighbors, and “sammie” experts have an opportunity to enjoy the produce and artisans found at the Daleville Town Center at the seasonal marketplace.
Grace Harwin, president of the Botetourt Farmers Market board, put the event together along with Johnny Camacho, a local event producer, and food enthusiast.
“We are so excited for the festival,” Harwin stated in a recent interview. “We’ve looked for an event to become our ‘legacy event’ every year.”
About two years ago, Harwin and Camacho put their heads together to co-produce a tomato sandwich competition. Due to the bounty of tomatoes every summer, Harwin believed a local tomato sandwich contest would best suit a farmers market. She thought of no better place than Botetourt.
Harwin and her event staff designed the festival to teach the community about local agriculture and the seasonality of its produce.
The one-day event will have a “tomato” theme as local vendors offer their usual goods along with a few tomato-themed exclusives. Additionally, there will be an heirloom tomato tasting—sort of like a wine tasting, but with locally grown produce where attendees learn about the history and flavor profiles.
But, wait. There’s more. The festival committee is currently working out the details on live music and entertainment, which will also be a part of the event.
The contest asks that all entrants bring produce grown within 50 miles of the Botetourt Farmers Market. Tomatoes may be homegrown or purchased from local farmers.
For more information about the tomato sandwich contest and further details about the festival, visit the Botetourt Farmers Markets Facebook page.