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Heirloom Tomato Festival returns


August 24, 2012
By Canadian Garden Centre & Nursery

Aug. 24, 2012, Richmond, BC — Phoenix Perennials and Specialty Plants will host its second annual Heirloom Tomato Festival on Sept. 8.

The festival, which will run from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., will include tasting sessions of heirloom and cool modern tomatoes, sales of tomato fruit and displays of a wide range of tomato fruit and plants.

“We are really excited about the second year of the Heirloom Tomato Festival,” said Gary Lewis, owner of Phoenix Perennials. “Tomatoes are definitely one of the most popular vegetables for backyard growing and for eating. Nothing tastes like summer more than a fresh, sweet, locally grown tomato, especially if it’s an heirloom variety. The interest in unique food experiences and the desire to support locally grown food continues to grow on the part of the public. ”

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Last year’s inaugural festival was met with an overwhelming response. All 160 spots in the tomato tasting sessions sold out, as did the fruit harvested from the fields – a total of more than 1,200 pounds of tomatoes.

The idea for this event came out of chats between Lewis and Ken and Elke Knechtel of Red Barn Plants. Red Barn is a wholesale grower of heirloom and unusual veggie, herb and edible plants, as well as perennials. In 2009 the Knechtels purchased a farm in Cawston, B.C. Their son, Erik, manages fields of heirloom tomatoes, peppers and other veggies and fruit for sale throughout B.C.’s lower mainland.

“At Phoenix Perennials we have been offering Red Barn’s tomato and veggie starts to our eager customers for back yard growing for a number of years,” explains Lewis. “It just makes sense to bring that full circle and celebrate the bounty of the harvest with our Heirloom Tomato Festival and with tomato fruit from the Knechtel’s fields.”


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