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‘Ripe’ with fun: Richmond, Berea farmers markets to host Tomato Festivals |

‘Ripe’ with fun: Richmond, Berea farmers markets to host Tomato Festivals

It’s official, August is here and tomatoes are ripening on the vine. Local farmers are ready to celebrate by showing off their plentiful varieties to the public at the Downtown Richmond and Berea farmers markets’ Tomato Festivals.

Downtown Richmond Farmers Market

The Downtown Richmond Farmers will drum up “saucy” good fun Saturday at the fourth annual Tomato Festival from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on North First Street.

Whether one’s taste buds favor flavors from cherry, plum, paste tomatoes, canning tomatoes or heirloom types, they will all be there, said market manager Melodie Lincavage.

As part of the festival, most farmers market vendors will have special tomato-themed products available, such as tomato juice, jam and even tomato soap.

The festival also will feature a tomato dish competition, which is open the public, at 10 a.m. There is a $5 entry fee to enter the contest. The only stipulation is that each entry’s main ingredient be locally grown tomatoes — no grocery store tomatoes here, noted Lincavage.

The market manager said the cooking competition is always a popular event because it lets community members show off their talents. Sometimes they bring unusual items, whether that is tomato pie or tomato beer. The prize this year is a KitchenAid mixer.

Devon Rosenblatt from The Kitchen will conduct a cooking demonstration at 11 a.m. Lincavage said Rosenblatt will show guests how to prepare fried-green tomatoes, as well as a surprise dish.

Children can enjoy several tomato-themed activities. There also will be pony rides and water inflatables. Jordan Chapman will perform live music.

Smitty’s Southern Style BBQ and Eagle Brook Farm will provide food.

Lincavage said the festival has continued to grow, and is one of three the market stages each year to highlight seasonal crops, along with the Strawberry Festival in the spring and the Pumpkin Festival in the fall.

“I think people like to see the market grow and support the vendors and farmers. They also like to see the community come together and celebrate something as simple as the tomato,” Lincavage said.

For more information about the Downtown Richmond Farmers Market or its Tomato Festival, visit or the Tomato Festival event Facebook page.

Berea Farmers Market

The third annual Berea Farmers Market Tomato Festival is set for Aug. 19 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 416 Chestnut Street.

Along with all varieties of tomatoes being offered, market manager Margie Stelzer said there will be tomato and recipe sampling provided by the Madison County Extension Cooperative. If a dish tickles one’s taste buds, they can walk away with the recipe in hand.

Tomato and seed expert, and Berea Farmers Market Founder, Bill Best will be at the market selling his fruits and vegetables, and answering questions.

“There is an increasing awareness that tomatoes aren’t the hard tasteless thing you get at a grocery store and that, instead, it is great to get vine-ripened tomatoes a day after it is picked at the farmers market,” said Stelzer on why the community enjoys coming out and celebrating the rosy red, savory fruit.

For more information about the Berea Farmers Market Tomato Festival, visit or the Tomato Festival event Facebook page.

Reach Critley King at 624-6623; follow her on Twitter @critleyking.

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