Tomato time…Kendall Jackson’s 18th Heirloom Tomato Festival is Saturday, September 27, 2014
One of the greatest pleasures of Indian summer is the special nudge its gives heirloom tomatoes to sun-ripened perfection. As we pursue the great tomato hunt, there’s one event that tops them all—the annual Kendall-Jackson Heirloom Tomato Festival, which returns on Saturday, September 27, 2014, for a one-of-a-kind celebration of Sonoma County’s seasonal bounty. Now in its 18th year, the popular festival has a cult like following, attracting tomato lovers from all over the West Coast. Highlights include—the popular heirloom tomato tasting station offering some 175 varieties of heirloom tomatoes (grown by Kendall-Jackson); an Heirloom Tomato Grower’s Competition (judging is Thursday, September 25, 2014 with winners on display on Saturday); the popular Chef Challenge featuring Bravo’s Top Chef® contenders; and tomato-inspired gourmet delights from nearly 50 prominent wine country and Bay Area restaurants, chefs, and food purveyors. Guests will also enjoy wine tasting, live music by the Carlos Herrera Band and educational wine and garden seminars.
The event, which utilizes nearly 10,000 pounds of heirloom tomatoes, benefits the Ceres Community Project, which involves community-building through providing nourishing free meals to those struggling with serious illnesses.
ARThound’s favorite part of the day is engaging complete strangers in tomato talk —what’s the best tasting heirloom tomato? What’s the best way to grow them? Of course, it’s foolhardy to even attempt to answer these questions but it’s the kind of talk that happily engages any tomato fanatic—for hours.
Tour KJ’s expanded gardens: In addition to wine and food, guests at the 2014 Tomato Festival can discover the Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate’s recently expanded culinary and sensory gardens. Culinary gardener Tucker Taylor will lead tours throughout the day to reveal the captivating garden transformation, including an exploration of the garden’s wide variety of organic specialty produce and beautiful design enhancements. Tucker says:
—Technically a tomato is a fruit, but it is legally classified as a vegetable
—Over 90% of gardeners in America grow tomatoes
—We eat close to 25 pounds of tomatoes per year
—The botanical name is Lycopersicon lycopersicum which means “wolf peach”
—Tomatoes originate in South America
—China is the largest producer of tomatoes followed by the US
—California produces over 95% of the tomatoes processed in the US
—Florida is the largest producer of fresh market tomatoes
—The largest tomato on record was grown in 1986 in Oklahoma and weighed 7 lbs. 12 oz.
—The largest tomato plant on record was grown in a greenhouse in Florida and produced over 32,000 tomatoes in the first 16 months
—It is estimated that there are over 25,000 tomato varieties
VIP event package: An all access festival package which includes a VIP tent and lounge, VIP check-in, valet parking with a separate entrance to the event, exclusive wine and food pairings and limited production reserve wines poured by the winery’s Master Sommelier Tickets for this extra special VIP experience are $150 per person. (*Will sell-out, buy now.)
About Kendall-Jackson Winery: Kendall-Jackson is one of America’s most beloved family-owned and operated wineries. Founded by entrepreneur Jess Jackson and now led by his wife Barbara Banke and their children, Kendall-Jackson is based in Sonoma County and offers a range of acclaimed wines grown on the family’s estate vineyards along the coastal ridges of California. A leader in sustainable vineyard and winery practices including solar cogeneration, water conservation, and natural pest control, 100% of Kendall-Jackson’s vineyards in California are SIP Certified (Sustainability in Practice). Learn more online at http://www.kj.com, and follow KJ on Facebook. Engage in this year’s Tomato Festival conversation on Twitter via @KJWines and #Kjtomfest.
Details: The 18th Annual Kendall-Jackson Heirloom Tomato Festival is Saturday, September 27, 2014 from 11AM to 4 PM. Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens are located 5007 Fulton Road, Fulton CA 95439. Advance ticket purchase is essential as the event sells out every year. Purchase tickets online here. General Admission tickets: $95; VIP Package $150. Wear Sun Protection to this outdoor event.
Directions: From Highway 101 going NORTH, take River Road exit. Come to stop light and turn LEFT going over the freeway. Travel approximately 1 1/4 mile to first stoplight, which is Fulton Road. Turn RIGHT at Fulton Road.
Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens is less than 1/2 mile on the LEFT side of the road. (If you go over the Hwy 101 overpass on Fulton, you’ve gone too far.)
From Highway 101 going SOUTH, take Fulton Road exit. The FIRST driveway on the right is the Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens.
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