The Shop Tart loves tomatoes. She (almost) always has, but the Tasty Tomato Festival inspires her. She’s been on a real tomato kick this year, even posting about it twice for one of her other jobs, once about how tomatoes are her summer salad hero, and a second time about some awesome variations on a BLT. The other day, she met a friend at Drip on Main for a business-y sort of meeting. She wasn’t even hungry, but couldn’t resist the heirloom tomato caprese.
That salad is simple and decadent, the fresh mozzarella as luscious as the beautiful, ripe tomatoes. The capers complement the lightly dressed dish perfectly and the side of house marinated olives is a treat. The Shop Tart drank an entire big bottle of sparkling water with it and felt like she had taken a short vacation to Italy.
On Saturday, you won’t want to take a vacation: You’ll want to be right here in town for the Tasty Tomato Festival. Tuesday night, the Shop Tart got a little preview. She and Jenks Farmer were among many other judges who got to taste, compare and analyze a ton of tomatoes. She and Jenks were responsible for judging the small reds, and it was a pleasure. After they performed their duties, they were treated to dinner, prepared by Kristian of Loft 201 by Rosso at 701 Whaley. Pasta at its simple best. Delicious!
But more about that festival. From their Facebook event page:
“The festival will highlight locally grown food — the people who grow it, the restaurants who place it on their menus, the markets that sell it, and the people who eat it.
Continuing in the tradition of old-time festival fun, programming for this year’s Tasty Tomato Festival includes a free heirloom tomato tasting, live music, local food + drink vendors, tomato bobbing, and the highly anticipated Tasty Tomato Contest.
New this year is our Columbia Tasty Tomato Feast!
From July 8th to the 19th, local restaurants will feature special Tasty Tomato dishes with fresh local tomatoes! Find the list of restaurants on the website.
The Tasty Tomato Contest will have expanded drop off sites and entries are due by Monday, July 15th. <- Too late. All you can do now is go eat at the festival!
Encourage your gardening friends to enter!
The Festival will be held on Saturday, July 20th from 4 to 9 PM. We have again rented City Roots Farm, everyone’s favorite outdoor venue, and will have a bigger and better stage for music from a great lineup of Blue Grass Bands: The Hackensaw Boys, The Packway Handle Band, Playing on the Planet, Stillhouse, Jackaroe and Tom Hall & The Plowboys!
We will have several local restaurants serving great food and are pleased to announce we will have 4 different brews from Columbia’s own Conquest Brewery!
This year, Sustainable Midlands, a champion of the region’s sustainable food efforts and festival founder, is partnering with the Rosewood Merchants Association to produce this celebration of the tomato season. The festival will be held at City Roots Urban Farm.
More tasty details at www.tastytomatofestival.com.”
So are you going or what?! Let’s go! See you there!
Want free tickets? The Shop Tart has two pairs to give away. All you have to do to be entered to win a pair of tickets is leave a comment below. You can share whatever you like, but feel free to wax poetic about your favorite tomato dish. Or moment. Go, tomatoes! Winners will be announced on Friday, and the Shop Tart can’t say exactly when, but it will be at night. Or maybe in the afternoon. Anyhow, hurry up and enter!
In today’s post…
- Drip on Main, 1441 Main Street
- Loft 201 by Rosso, 701 Whaley Street, 803-787-3949
Happy Shopping and don’t forget to tell them you read it on the Shop Tart!