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Tomato Feastival is back at Goodwood to benefit Red Hills Small Farm Alliance

green tomatoes in a pot
Tom Flanigan
These homegrown tomatoes are racing to ripen in time for the Feastival's various contests.

The Capital Region’s small farm owners are celebrating the noble tomato with a special event this weekend. It’s the second year that Tallahassee’s Goodwood Museum and Gardens will host the group’s Tomato Feastival.
The happening is hosted by the Red Hills Small Farm Alliance, which Turkey Hills Farm owner Louise Devine helped organize.

“The Red Hills Small Farm Alliance was formed 11 years ago by myself and a farmer colleague. We are an alliance of over 100 farmers and food artisans,” she said, although pointing out that the Feastival, which is now the Alliance’s major annual fundraiser, actually predates the Alliance itself.

“The Feastival originated here at Turkey Hill Farm 16 years ago. And that was just a big celebration party for the tomato, because tomatoes are the ‘love apple,’ y’know?”

Actually, there is some recent research suggesting the humble tomato may have some stimulating properties. Anyway, Devine’s husband Herman Holley said this year’s crop is coming in right on schedule for the event.

“It looks this year like they’re going to line up very nicely. So the tomatoes should be peaking right around June 12th when we have the Feastival.”

Something that won’t be lining up, he chuckled, will be traffic coming into Goodwood itself. That’s because the big lot at the neighboring Ghazvini Center on Surgeons Drive is reserved for Feastival parking all day Sunday. Meanwhile, Louise Devine said everyone who grows tomatoes can be part of a fun competition.

“Bring your best tomatoes to enter in the contest for ‘best tasting,’’ugliest’ and ‘biggest.’ Whether it’s a cherry or slicing tomato, the main thing is to be sure and know the name of your tomato," she laughed. "We can’t have anonymous tomatoes! Every tomato has to have a name.”

Of course there will be plenty of produce vendors and entertainment.

“About 30 members of the members of the Small Farm Alliance. Music from the Air-Fried Turkeys, a special area for kids, photo booth, a silent auction. And every year we have an old fashioned cake walk, which is one of the popular things that we do.”

And both Louise Devine and Herman Holley exlained there will be plenty of other edible treats including tomatoes and other things.

“Kitchenable will be doing a tomato pie and some of our farmers will be doing tomato sandwiches, sausage dogs from Glendower Farms (in Monticello,) ice cream from Lofty Pursuits and local beer from all the local breweries will be there.”

The 2022 Tomato Feastival happens this Sunday, June 12th at Goodwood Museum and Gardens from 2 until 6 in the afternoon with plenty of tomatoes and plenty of parking. Tickets are on the Red Hills Small Farm Alliance website and Facebook page.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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