Imagine thousands of people from all over the United Sates gathering in celebration of the tomato fall harvest at Seed Savers Exchange north of Decorah! It is quite a sight to see! If you love tomatoes and are interested in sampling over 40 delicious different heirloom tomato varieties, you need to attend their huge event with workshops given by experts on things like how to save your seeds, tour their gardens, hay rides and more. You can join the fun this Saturday, August 31 from 1-4. This is a gardeners dream Labor Day Weekend event!
Seed Savers Exchange, is located north of Decorah at 3094 North Winn Rd. and is a non-profit organization with a mission dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds. The organization began in 1975 and has grown by thousands around the world. Their members have been passing on garden heritage by collecting and distributing thousands of samples of rare garden seeds to other gardeners.
Each year we have enjoyed not only tasting the different tomatoes, but visiting gardeners from all over the world, attending free workshops where we learned how to collect and save our tomato seeds and other seeds for the next year, touring the gardens, enjoying the kids activities with family, along with the wagon rides. This year famous photographer, David Cavagnaro will present a Harvest Photography workshop which I'm very exciting to attend! Some of the workshops start at 12:30 and I would recommend coming early for a good parking spot. The tomato tasting long line to the barn begins early, though it goes from 1-4 p.m.
As you reach the barn entrance into the tomato tasting, you will be greeted with the spicy smell of the salsa competitors' booths also in the barn and you can get free samples of that as well. The length of the barn has rows of tables in a rectangle shape with luscious diced tomatoes as volunteers continue to cute and cube bites to fit your toothpick while live music plays in the background. Make sure to pick up a paper and pencil and jot down notes of your favorite to vote as you enter.
Being an amateur gardener, it amazes me that a tomato can have such different flavors. Every tomato is not created equally! I did know that some tomatoes are juicier and are good for tomato juice while others are good for the top of your hamburger, but I didn't know there were striped tomatoes, some that are sweeter, and some tomatoes when they are ripe are still green! I was truly amazed that at least a thousand people attend this tomato harvest fest party each year. It becomes one big fiesta party as groups of people mingle together and you won't want to miss the fun!
The following tomatoes received the most votes at Seed Savers Exchange's last year: first place-Italian Heirloom, second place went to Dester, and third place was a tie with Igleheart Yellow German Cocktail and Tiny Tim Yellow. What ones will win this year? What new tomato varieties will they have this year? Come out and discover what varieties you may want to plant next year in your garden!