BOSTON (CBS) – It’s a day to celebrate locally grown tomatoes in Massachusetts, with the 34th annual tomato contest, and there were some beauties on display at the Boston Public Market to admire and taste.
Some 60 different tomatoes vied for attention, all grown on Massachusetts farms. Judges armed with clipboards tasted, squeezed and admired heirlooms, cherry tomatoes, slicers and whoppers going for the “heaviest” title.
“The biggest thing is the taste, the flavor. I like to imagine them on a hamburger,” said Jason Bond, one of the judges.
It was as much a feast for the eyes as it was for the palate, and it’s no small thing. Seven hundred fifty nine Mass. farms grow tomatoes producing nearly eight million pounds with a value of more than $14 million.
But for the consumer, it’s the tongue that will tell. “The taste you get from a locally grown product just can’t be compared to something that might be shipped several thousand miles,” says Massachusetts Agricultural Commissioner John Lebeaux, whose agency organized the contest.
The farmers are competing for the coveted tomato trophy, and they have their own definitions of award winning. “It’s just the juice, the redness in the tomato. Just the firmness,” says Peter MacArthur of MacArthur’s Farm in Holliston.
“I like a red tomato, a nice big one that I can slice for a sandwich,” adds Mark Amato of Verrill Farm in Concord.
But it was the judges who picked the winners after scoring for firmness, color, taste and size. The big winner was Langwater Farm in North Easton with three trophies. “We’re feeling like all our hard work was worth it this year. So pretty happy to bring home all these trophies,” says Kevin O’Dwyer of Langwater Farm.
Other winners today, Kimball Fruit Farm, Ward’s Berry Farm and Verrill Farm.