The Q&A Archives: Tomatoes For Fairs

Question: In addition to loving the taste of tomatoes, I also enter them in the local fairs. What varieties would you recommend where the rules state:

Tomatoes should be uniform in size, shape and color(not over a 10% variance) of the best market size and quality

Answer: The uniformity is often key in entering prize winning produce, so selecting the individuals to make up your grouping may be even more important than which variety you have grown. In other words, they need to be as identical specimens as possible in addition to being beautiful examples of their type. In terms of variety, you might gamble on growing the nicest of a well known variety or you might opt for a lesser known or heirloom type ... as long as the characteristics of the variety are well demonstrated and consistent from fruit to fruit and they are at their peak. Since you can't predict the weather and growing season, you might try several varieties known to prefer different types of seasons (such as one known to resist cracking or one known to prefer heat) too, just to cover your bets a little better. Finally, your county extension (241-4940) may be able to tell you if certain varieties have historically been the tops at your local fairs. Best of luck with your tomatoes!

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