MARIPOSA – Local heirloom tomatoes are vine-ripened for you to taste and savor at the Mariposa Tomato Fest, Sept. 29-30, at the Arts Park and along the Mariposa Creek Parkway.
This free family event features the best-tasting tomatoes ever, and allows you and your family to enjoy downtown Mariposa and visit family farms to see first-hand their best growing practices. The festival also offers workshops on vegetable gardening, a salsa contest and tomato-eating contest for you to enter.You can also learn about honey bees and get advice from a master gardener.
Attendees are invited to start the day with a bird walk, and then go on to the arts and craft booths, food vendors, children’s activities and square dancing. Heirloom tomatoes will be offered for sale as you enjoy great music or take a history walk.
Shops are planning to highlight tomatoes, and restaurants are adding fun tomato dishes to their menus for the weekend.
Other activities also will be featured, with participation by the California Mining & Mineral Museum, Mariposa Museum and History Center, Bootjack Stompers, Mariposa Grizzly High School Band, Sierra Artist Gallery, Sierra Foothill Conservancy, Resource Conservation District, and more.
Five family farms are opening their barn doors for your visit.
– At Fouch Farms, dairy and beef cattle, goats, pigs, sheep and chickens are a part of the landscape and they grow feed for all the animals. They grow fruits and vegetables of all varieties, and their large greenhouse helps protect plants from the elements. Jesse and Hannah Fouch have developed many ways to conserve the natural environment while raising their family in a wholesome and educational surrounding.
– Stop at Dave & Sandy Harris’ garden to talk with them about their successes and some pitfalls to avoid. They have over ¾ of an acre planted in summer vegetables, flowers and herbs. They make it look easy while they enjoy the rewards of producing all their own produce.
– Linda Dahl of Mariposa Loofa knows all about loofas. You really can grown them. She has a great crop in her two greenhouses. It’s almost harvest time, so you can see how huge they get and how they are processed. She shows you that Mariposa can raise diverse crops and how this can add value to your rural property.
– Harvest time at Butterfly Creek Winery has it all. Bob and Darlene Gerken are proud to introduce you to winemaking. They will answer all your questions,from growing grapes to wine production, and host wine tastings in their winery by the creek.
– Brenda Ostrom of Mountain Meadow Farms is the queen of heirloom tomatoes. She has more than 500 heirloom tomato plants under a cover where she has worked to enrich and condition the soil. This is an opportunity to ask all your questions bout tomato growing, including soil, water, critters, variety, and elevation. And she has accomplished this at 3,000 feet.
Visit www.TomatoFest.org for all the details or call Kris Casto at 209-377-8203. Mariposa is putting out the welcome mat for you.