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Tomato Day at Morningsun Herb Farm Supports School Gardens

Colorful assortment of fresh organic whole and cut heirloom tomatoes sitting on wooden tableTomato lovers are looking forward to Tomato Day when Morningsun Herb Farm in Pleasants Valley sets out a grand table laden with dozens of varieties of the summer’s favorite food.

This year’s annual Tomato Day is Sunday, September 10, 11 am to 3:30 pm. Tomato tasting is the highlight of this event, where tasters are encouraged to vote on each of the tomatoes they sample, allowing Morningsun to calculate the overall favorites. The farm publishes detailed results along with descriptions of the top vote getters, allowing the farm and home gardeners to plan ahead for planting in coming seasons. View results from the 2016 tasting on Morningsunherbfarm.com at this link. Along with tomato tasting, visitors can watch cooking demonstrations, learn more about local resources, purchase fresh produce and unique items from the craft booths, and enjoy a stroll through the lovely garden of Vacaville’s Morningsun Herb Farm.

Usually held on the last Sunday in August, this year’s Tomato Day has been moved to a later date to accommodate Mother Nature and the later start to the growing season. And as usual, visitors are welcomed to the Pleasants Valley Road herb farm with free parking and shuttle service from Soul Food Farm just down the road. To take part in the tomato tastings, visitors are asked to donate $5 each to benefit the Slow Food Solano’s School Garden Grant Program.

“Tomato Day donations plant the seeds for our county-wide school garden grant program,” said Slow Food Solano Chairwoman Cynthia Huddleston. “We love to see students back in the garden.”

The 2017 fund-raising effort is once again getting a boost from two major sponsors, E B Stone Organics of Suisun City and NorthBay Healthcare. Each offers to match any donations up to $250 each. Visitors donating to the sponsor table will be entered in a drawing for one of several gift baskets of locally-source products.

Il Fiorello Hosts Fall Mixer on Nov. 20

il-fiorelloFreshly milled olive oil is the centerpiece for the Slow Food Solano Fall Mixer on Sunday, Nov. 20, 5:30-8 pm at Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company in Fairfield (www.ilfiorello.com).

A fund-raiser for Slow Food Solano’s School Garden Grant Program, the mixer begins at 5:30 pm. A tour of the olive oil milling operation, the certified organic olive groves, vegetable and herb gardens begins at 6 pm. Guests will have the opportunity to learn about the history and traditions of olive oil milling, see the Italian mill where the oil is produced, sample freshly milled oil and learn more about using olive oil in your own kitchen.

Hors d’oeuvres prepared by Il Fiorello’s Chef Darren will be served and there will be a no-host wine bar.

Tickets are available through Nov. 14 on Brown Paper Tickets http://slowfoodsolano.brownpapertickets.com. The cost is $25 per person. Because Chef Darren needs to know how much food to prepare, tickets must be purchased by Monday, Nov. 14.

Il Fiorello’s visitor center also offers early holiday gift ideas with a unique selection of its award-winning oils and vinegars as well as other locally produced goods. It is located at 2625 Mankas Corner Road in Fairfield, just a couple miles north of the I-80 freeway at the Abernathy Road.

Questions? Email Slow Food Solano Co-Chair Cynthia Huddleston at crhudd@sbcglobal.net, call or text her at (707) 372-8658.

Tomato Day Success Benefits School Gardens

DSC_0805Tomato Day 2016 was a slice of heaven on Sunday when 400 tomato lovers came to taste 80 varieties at MorningSun Herb Farm in Vacaville. And thanks to herb farm owners Rose and Dan, Slow Food Solano raised $2500 for its school garden grant program. Yes, it’s amazing how all those $5 donations add up. Plus this year we had the support of EB Stone Organics of Suisun and NorthBay Healthcare. They each gave matching donations of $250 which we managed to just meet from the generosity of additional donations by Tomato Day visitors and Slow Food members.

We also had the pleasure of great chef demonstrations by Il Fiorello Olive Oil Co. in Fairfield – thank you Darren and Elisabeth – Vacaville’s Backdoor Bistro owner/chef Lindsey Gilpin and the always irrepressible Annie Baker of Annie the Baker.com of Napa.

Morningsun grew all the tomatoes this year next door to their herb farm and at Soul Food Farm down the road. A bonanza year for tomatoes – which Rose guesses they will be picking as late as the end of October. So if you are hankering for fresh, organic tomatoes, drop by Morningsun. At $2.50 a pound, it’s a great deal.

All hail glorious tomatoes!