Monday, August 25, 2008

NatureSweet's Homegrown Tomato Challenge

Hey, a fellow Carmichaelian won the grand prize!

NatureSweet Tomatoes congratulates Bob Peruch of Carmichael for winning the $2,500 grand prize in the small tomato category at the August 23 Homegrown Tomato Challenge. Peruch won the competition with his Gardeners Delight variety of tomatoes. NatureSweet Tomatoes also congratulates Lin Cole of Citrus Heights for winning the other $2,500 grand prize in the large tomato category. Cole won the competition with her unknown variety of tomatoes. This year’s competition was held at the Raley’s located at 25025 Blue Ravine Road in Folsom.

While Peruch and Cole can now claim to be two of America’s best tomato gardeners, they each faced stiff competition by the following runners-up, who all received a $250 store voucher for their premium tomato entries: August Spagnolo (Sweet 100), Kaitlyn Shupe (Small Cherry),Jan Decker (Bonnie Hubby),and Bryan Sattler (Black Krim).

Six finalists were chosen from 280 entries. NatureSweet’s distinguished judges included Pat Rubin, The Sacramento Bee; Robbie Guggenheim, Edible Sacramento; Michael Marks, Your Produce Man; Al Pierleoni, The Sacramento Bee; Judy McClure, Sacramento County Master Gardeners, Chuck Person, Sacramento Kings Assistant Coach; and Michael Schutt, Raley’s.

Finalists were chosen based on a Brix test which determines tomato sweetness -- the higher the Brix number, the better the taste. The finalists were then taste-tested by the judge’s panel. All tomato entries – approximately 600 pounds of tomatoes – were donated to the Twin Lakes Food Bank after the Challenge.

Now in its sixth year, the popular Homegrown Tomato Challenge continues to trek across the country as NatureSweet seeks out America’s best homegrown tomatoes.

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