First Time Involvement In The Killer Tomato Festival...
What a great experience this year! Typically, this is just a great time for Nicole and I, just to go and eat the wonderful foods created by these great chefs. This year was different. We had skin in the game - our tomatoes.
Donna, from Georgia Organics, connected us with Chris Hastings, a chef out of Birmingham, AL. Chris owns Hot and Hot Fish Club and has been a two time James Beard "Best Chef in the South" finalist, among the many other awards he has received. We were extremely honored to be involved with him and his team for this event.
As far as our tomatoes this year, they've never looked better. We grew several varieties of heirlooms as well as hybrids; since the heirlooms typically die in mid-season after they have produced an allotted amount, the hybrids carry us through the rest of the summer. I've also never seen as many 1 lb plus tomatoes in one season. We incorporated mycorrhizal fungi into the soil with Ocean Trace (sea minerals), as well as foliar spraying to increase the plant health. The result was the best tasting tomatoes I have ever had. The sugar level was through the roof. You could imagine our excitement to share these treasures with such a highly talented chef. He didn't disappoint!
Chef Hastings made Florida Hoppers (sautéed shrimp with the heads on) on heirloom tomatoes, with grilled Vidalia onions, avocadoes and basil lime vinaigrette. It was amazing. We also got to check out the other creative dishes at the event and were very full at the end. We probably eat more tomatoes at this event than we do the rest of the year. If you didn't go this year, make it a priority for next. It won't disappoint!