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Geneva Anderson digs into art

Kendall Jackson’s 17th Annual Heirloom Tomato Festival—we came, we ate, we learned!

THE sandwich of the day at the 17th Kendall Jackson Heirloom Tomato Festival—peanut butter, banana, roasted pork belly and heirloom tomato jelly— people came back in droves for thirds and fourths and fifths!

THE sandwich of the day at the 17th Kendall Jackson Heirloom Tomato Festival—peanut butter, banana, roasted pork belly and heirloom tomato jelly— people came back in droves for thirds and fourths and fifths! Photo: Geneva Anderson

With all the events we pack tightly into the remaining weekends of our wonderfully warm fall, what happened yesterday can easily become a blur.  Saturday’s Kendall-Jackson Heirloom Tomato Festival is well worth mentioning.   It sold out, as it always does, and those 3,000 lucky enough to attend were in for some culinary treats.  This year’s festival was bigger and better than ever and featured some amazing and instructive pairings of wines and flavorful heirloom-tomato centric foods.  Most of the food vendors gave out recipe cards explaining how to recreate the heirloom tomato marvels they’d whipped up.  Those who didn’t have cards were happy to chat.   I attended an interesting seminar on the nuances of tomato growing and came away with a plan for enhancing my end-of-season yield—cut off the blossoms and cut back the plants so that all energy goes into the fruit on the vine now.  A confession: before hitting the festival in the early afternoon, I dropped by the Apple Store in Santa Rosa to buy a Nike Fuelband which a lot of my friends are wearing to track their activities and help them manage their weight.  The madness inside the store—the new iPhone—was just insane, so I drove straight up to the festival and right into some HEAVY duty temptation.  With no one watching, I managed to find some outrageously delicious and creative tomato treats.  A special call-out goes to Fiorello’s Artisan Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Gelato….it was cool, refreshing and so satisfying.  Every year, San Rafael-based gelato company outdoes itself and comes up with yet another mouthwatering gelato that draws long lines and big smiles.   Many of the delicacies served were intentionally low-fat, and used sliced fresh juicy heirlooms as their prime ingredient….but volume is my downfall.  Today, I’m on the wagon!

A great idea!  A popsicle made of tomato water is refreshing, delicious and low-cal.

A great idea! A popsicle made of tomato water is refreshing, delicious and low-cal. With a serving team like this, it verged on theatre of the tomato. Photo: Geneva Anderson

The ever popular heirloom tomato tasting table is just one of the ways that Kendall Jackson celebrates the heirloom tomato—a chance to taste over 150 varieties all side by side and decide which ones are just right for you.

The ever popular heirloom tomato tasting table is just one of the ways that Kendall Jackson celebrates the heirloom tomato—a chance to taste over 175 varieties all side by side and decide which ones are just right for you. This year, there were several rare varieties of green heirlooms to sample. Photo: Geneva Anderson

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September 29, 2013 - Posted by | Food | , , , ,

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