And the winner is...

left to right: 1st place 'Cherry Roma', 2nd place 'Ananas Noire' and 'Chocolate Cherry', 3rd place 'Igleheart Yellow Cherry'
left to right: 1st place 'Cherry Roma', 2nd place 'Ananas Noire' and 'Chocolate Cherry', 3rd place 'Igleheart Yellow Cherry'

This past weekend's 8th Annual Tomato Tasting event was a sweet success for gardeners and tomatoes alike.

Despite concerns that our tomatoes would not ripen in time for the event, over 40 heirloom and open-pollinated tomato varieties (and one mega-mart hybrid tomato) competed for the title of this year's favorite. SSE staff, friends, and family brought tomatoes from gardens across northeast Iowa and Wisconsin to serve over 800 event attendees.

2013 Tomato Tasting Winner

Though competition was fierce, the bright and tangy 'Cherry Roma' was the undisputed winner with over 10% of the votes.

Tied for second place were the gorgeous tricolor beefsteak 'Ananas Noire' and the very juicy, very flavorful 'Chocolate Cherry'. Rounding out the top four was a variety from the Seed Savers Exchange preservation collection, 'Igleheart Yellow Cherry'.

In addition to tomatoes, event attendees had the opportunity to sample several varieties of heritage apples, ground cherries, cucumbers and peppers, as well as a dozen different salsas as part of the Oneota Community Food Co-op's Annual Salsa Contest. Congratulations to Paul Johnson of DeSoto, Wisconsin for his winning salsa - find all the salsa recipes in this PDF or scroll down for Paul Johnson's 'Pop's Savory Salsa'.

Dozens of heirloom and open-pollinated tomatoes ready for the tomato tasting event
Dozens of heirloom and open-pollinated tomatoes ready for the tomato tasting event

Read about the 2012 Tomato Tasting, where Italian Heirloom took the prize, and the 2011 event, where Dester was voted first place.

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Pop's Savory Salsa

By: Paul Johnson

  • 6 cups tomatoes - skinned,chopped, and seeded
  • 1 1/2 cups green pepper - seeded and chopped
  • 3 large onions, chopped
  • 6-7 jalapenos, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 T vinegar
  • 2 T salt
  • 3 T sugar
  • 1 - 15 oz. can of tomato sauce

Bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes.

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About Seed Savers Exchange (SSE): Located six miles north of Decorah, Iowa, Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to the preservation and distribution of heirloom seeds.  Seed Savers maintains a collection of thousands of open-pollinated varieties, making it one of the largest non-governmental seed banks in the United States.