2015 Big Tomato Contest

To readers of this column:


I have not posted for a while, due to a number of family issues. My wife was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer and is in remission now. My oldest son and his wife had a second child and we are babysitting when they need help; the new baby is colicky. And there were only a few readers who offered feedback, so I had the feeling we were putting a lot of effort into a weekly update for a small audience.


That said, I am posting again today because our annual Big Tomato Contest will be held on Saturday Aug. 8 at 10 a.m. at Hagerstown City Market. Three prizes — $100, $50 and $25 will go to the top tomatoes by weight. The only condition is that the winners have to be in edible condition. No half-rotten, weeping specimens, please.


Please encourage anyone you know to enter. There is no cost to do so and it’s been a lot of fun, talking to the entrants about how their varieties and their growing tips.


The 2014 Big Tomato Contest’s $100 first prize winner was Esther Albin, whose big Beefsteak tomato weighed in at 2 pounds, 9 1/4 ounces.

Albin and her husband said they really didn’t do anything special, “just (adding) a little bit of 10-10-10, some epsom salts and some mushroom mulch on top.” Albin also grew Mortgage Lifter tomatoes and brought in one that weighed 1 pound, 8 ounces.


The $50 prize for second place went to Paul Bernard, whose heirloom tomato (the seeds of which he says have been in his family since the 1800s) weighed in at 2 pounds 7 7/8 ounces. HIs second entry, a Big Zac, weighed 2 pounds, 6 3/4 ounces.


Third place and a $25 prize went to Sue Kyler, whose heirloom specimen whose seed was brought years ago from Oakland, Md, weighed 2 pounds, 4 1/4 ounces.


“We did put antacids around them because of low calcium in the soil,” she said.


So if you know anyone who is interested, please tell them about the date and time. That includes you! May be the biggest tomatoes win!


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