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Hot summer boosts tomato crop 0

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

Tomato Festival will include such exotic delights as the green zebra. (MICHAEL MUI)

Tomato Festival will include such exotic delights as the green zebra. (MICHAEL MUI)

B.C.’s tomato farmers are relishing the summer heat as their love apples soak up the sunny rays — just in time for this weekend’s Tomato Festival. 

It’s definitely a bumper crop year, according to Vancouver Farmers’ Market operations manager Roberta LaQuaglia.

“Last year, we had a hot summer, but it killed off quickly and a lot of folks were not left with much in September or October,” she said Wednesday.

“This crop seems to be not bothered by particular pests this year, which has been a problem with tomatoes in the past.”

Since tomatoes are highly perishable, LaQuaglia said the public can expect some of the cheapest prices for the fruit.

“Definitely a great opportunity for buying in bulk for canning or bulk purchases ... we’re just getting into the height of the season now.”

The Tomato Festival goes Saturday and Sunday. The first day takes place at Trout Lake market (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.) with the Sunday event taking place at Kitsilano Market (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

Expect hundreds of varieties of tomatoes to be on sale and visits from gelato maker James Coleridge — who will be turning the fruit into Italian-style ice cream.

Cawston, B.C. farmer Kevin Klippenstein said it’s a great opportunity for those who haven’t tried the more exotic varieties of the fruit.

“These are striped German — this is awesome. You slice that open and it looks like marbled cheese to put on your sandwich,” he said.

“Green zebra — one of the most famous of everybody’s. They have stripes, they’re kind of yellow and green, but super sweet.”

Klippenstein added he’s still worried about an early frost — if one arrives in October, field tomatoes will freeze and be unmarketable.

 

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