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The Totally Terrific Tomato Festival returns to Killruddery House and Gardens


Calling Tomato lovers - the Totally Terrific Tomato Festival returns to Killruddery House & Gardens this September for another celebration of the diversity and flavor of the not-so-humble tomato. With contests, exhibitions, recipes and a host of guest speakers, the festival is not just a tomato enthusiast’s dream - it’s the best possible opportunity for those new to growing to gain some valuable experience and hear advice from renowned experts.

The festival is comprised of four aspects:
1. Genetic Diversity Display
2. Contests
3. Talks
4. The Walled Garden Project

Genetic Diversity Display
The highlight of the festival will be the impressive Genetic Diversity Display Table, co-ordinated by garden writer and tomato lover Jane Powers. There are over 4,000 known varieties of tomato and last year we managed to round up 138 of them, heirlooms, old favorites and F1 hybrids alike! If you’d like to contribute your own tomatoes to this year’s display, contact Jane to tell her what varieties you are growing to have a place of honor reserved for your tomatoes. A tasting table will also be available if you’re curious to sample some of the many specimens.
Contact Jane at - tomatodiversity@killruddery.com

We’ll have contests for tomatoes of all categories and classes, as well as for tomato-based recipes, judged by our special guest, award-winning vegetable grower Medwyn Williams. There are prizes to be won for every contest - and we have a few unusual categories thrown in there too!

Tomato Class Categories:

1. Classic medium round ‘Moneymaker’ type — dish of 5
2. Continental beefsteak type — dish of 3 
3. Cherry or cherry plum type — dish of 5

All of the above to be judged on both appearance and flavor.

4. Best complete truss of tomatoes — any type.
5. Heaviest tomato.
6. Ugliest/weirdest tomato.
7. Best tomato-themed costume or bonnet

Recipe Categories:

1. Any tomato dish - to be served at room temperature
2. Tomato chutney

If you’re interested in entering any of these competitions, now is the time to get your crops ready!

Visit the Library to hear talks from guest speakers on the history of the tomato and its incredible genetic diversity, presented by Dr. Matthew Jebb. Festival founder Nicky Kyle will be speaking on getting the most from growing and cooking your own tomatoes, and our special guest Medwyn Williams will give a talk on his journey from growing vegetables with his father to winning multiple awards at the Chelsea Flower Show and beyond. Several informal talks will also be taking place in the Farm Market during the day.

The Walled Garden Project
The staff at Killruddery will be getting involved, with our own head kitchen gardener Frank Jesper giving tours of the Walled Garden throughout the day and discussing his tomato-growing year so far in Killruddery. We will also have a children’s Seed Saving table to encourage the little ones to get digging!

Farm Market
Several of our Farm Market friends will be in attendance with lots of delicious accompaniments to your tomato dishes. Stallholders will include Le Skinny Chef, Corleggy Cheese, and Grass Roots Nutrition. Visiting stallholders include Dearbhla Reynolds from The Cultured Club, Freda Wolf of Intelligent Tea and The Herb Garden’s Denise Dunne. 

If you want to enter the festival but fear you’ve left it too late for seed sowing, our friends at Quickcrop have just the solution! Their six-to-eight-week tomato seedlings are ready to place in your greenhouse right away, in plenty of time for the festival. As well as all the usual favorites, Quickcrop also stock a few uncommon tomato varieties such as Ananas Noir, Green Sausage and White Wonder which are bound to catch the eye.
Pick up a seedling tray here: 

Special Thanks
We would like to extend our thanks to friends of the festival Nicky Kyle, Jane Powers, Dr. Matthew Jebb, Colm Warren Polyhouses, Kathryn Marsh, Madeline McKeever of Brown Envelope Seeds, Quickcrop, and all our competition prize givers. Thank you for your support!

Bio - Nicky Kyle
Nicky Kyle has been growing all of her own food organically for over 40 years and was one of Ireland's first certified organic commercial growers. She was a director of the Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association (IOFGA) and was also co-founder and director of The Organic Trust. She regularly speaks and writes a blog about organic gardening, poultry, wildlife, healthy eating, and cooking - www.nickykylegardening.com.

She also writes a monthly column in The Irish Garden magazine and is co-presenter of the popular 'From Tunnel to Table' feature on LMFM Radio's award-winning Late Lunch Show with Gerry Kelly. She was the original founder of the Totally Terrific Tomato Festival, with the aim of promoting awareness of the importance of preserving genetic diversity. 

Bio - Medwyn Williams
Medwyn Williams is the president of the National Vegetable Society, a member of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Fruit and Vegetable Committee, and eleven-time gold medal winner at the Chelsea Flower Show. He is the founder of Medwyn’s of Anglesey Exhibition Vegetable Seeds, which he now runs with his son and grandson. Medwyn has been growing vegetables from the age of eight and is also the holder of the prestigious Tudor Rose prize, awarded to him for the best display for the Royal Horticultural Society at Hampton Court, nine Gordon-Lennox trophies for best vegetable display, and two Lawrence Medals for the best horticultural display of the year. 

Bio - Matthew Jebb
Dr. Matthew Jebb is the Director of the National Botanic Gardens. After studying at Oxford University, he was Director of the Christiansen Research Institute in Papua New Guinea for five years before taking a two-year post-doctorate position at Trinity College. He has described several species of carnivorous plants with Dr. Martin Cheek.

Source: HortiTrends News Room