Get growing: ASAP and Market Place to host homegrown tomato contest this August

From the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project:

Tomato plants are now in the ground of Western North Carolina’s farms and gardens. Unfortunately, ASAP and the Market Place restaurant can’t do anything to speed up the growing process. But, they can offer news to keep excitement of the summer favorite’s arrival building: advance tickets are now on sale for their Homegrown Tomato Contest, to be held August 11 from 2 until 5 pm at the Market Place in downtown Asheville.

The August event is scheduled in conjunction with ASAP’s Get Local initiative, a campaign that turns the spotlight on one local product each month when at its peak in the harvest. The contest is open to all area home gardeners, who will be asked to bring two tomatoes to be tasted and judged by a panel of local celebrities. Prizes for the most marvelous ‘maters will include a $100 gift certificate to the Market Place, market bucks to Asheville City Market, a pass for ASAP’s Farm Tour in September, and more. Gardeners will also be invited to bring an “ugly” tomato for an all-in-good-fun Ugly Tomato Contest.

However, the event is only part contest, and the general public is invited to celebrate and enjoy the summer staple. All attendees will have the opportunity to snack on tomato hors d’oeuvres and enjoy tomato-based cocktails prepared by Market Place’s executive chef/owner William Dissen and his staff. Gardening and tomato specialists will also be on hand to share their expertise. Tickets for the general public to munch and mingle are $20; tickets for contest entrants are $10. A portion of the event’s proceeds will support ASAP.

Gardeners confident in their newly planted crop are encouraged to reserve their place in the contest soon, as there is a maximum number of entrants allowed. The public can also purchase advance tickets now; contact the Market Place at (828) 252-4162 or


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