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tomato festival this weekend - MA

Posted: August 24 2010

Red Fire Farm Hosts Celebration of Agricultural Bounty in the Pioneer Valley

GRANBY, MA - The initial idea of a quiet little tomato tasting party has grown over ten years into a full- blown community celebration, the tenth annual Red Fire Farm Tomato Festival. On August 28th the farm crew at Red Fire Farm in Granby will host a gathering of artists, musicians, professional chefs, food and fun in the true spirit of a New England harvest festival.
“We started the tomato tasting the first year we grew crops on this farm, with a selection of 25 tomatoes,” said Ryan Voiland, farmer and owner of Red Fire Farm. “This season we’ll have over 100 tomato varieties at the tasting. It’s all sort of grown naturally, year after year.” Every year now over a thousand people come to the farm in August to celebrate the agricultural community and the yieldings of the bountiful Pioneer Valley.
Tomatoes nourished by the fertile soils of the Valley and constant care of the farmers will be the focus of
the festivities. This year’s festival will showcase a variety of shapes, sizes, colors and characters of this
delicious fruit from the multi-toned giants to piquant droplets of vibrant orange. Under the tomato tent
visitors sample the incredible diversity of tastes and vote for their favorites. Those interested in taking
lots of tomatoes home can also harvest tomatoes from the farm’s pick-your-own cherry and paste tomato
Chef Peter Davis of Henrietta’s Table at the Boston Charles Hotel will be preparing a variety of salad
dressings from his cookbook Fresh & Honest. Maine chef Sebastian Carosi of The New England Farm
2 Fork Project will incorporate Red Fire’s heirloom tomatoes into a pasta, a broth ‘liquid salad,’ and
sandwiches. And Cathie Albrecht of 3 Café in Springfield will make up a stuffed tomato salad and a
tomato and sour dough salad. Food preservation, flower arranging, and vermi-composting workshops
will take place inside the barn, as well as an edible plant walk through the fields.
Fiddling stars The Nields will headline the musical line-up with a show that includes a special segment
for children. Local country blues band Eva Cappelli and the Watershops Band, singer-songwriter Carrie
Ferguson, and alternative country musicians the Salvation Alley String Band fill out the rest of the
afternoon with rollicking tunes.
Set on Red Fire’s active farm amidst productive fields and bustling barn yard, the festival brings together
community members and out-of-towners for an old-timey market day celebration featuring the diverse
offerings of the region. Local bakers and caterers vend scrumptious seasonal fare. Artisans and local
food crafters present their goods throughout the event for perusal and purchase, including local honey,
organic tea blends, preserves, decorative arts, glasswork, clothing, and pottery. The farm stand stays open
all day.
“Sometimes, at the peak of the season you get this feeling that the fields are just overflowing with
plenty,” said Sarah Voiland, co-owner and farmer at Red Fire. “Having this festival is a way to share it.”
The fun starts at 10:30 a.m. with the 5k Tomato Trot run or walk through the farm and surrounding
pastures for prizes of fresh farm stand produce. Festival-goers can also explore the beauty of the farm on
wagon ride tours. The full festival opens at 12 p.m. and continues until 5 p.m.
Red Fire Farm Details
Certified organic since beginning production in 2001, Red Fire Farm grows vegetables, fruits, eggs,
flowers, and bedding plants. They sell their products locally through their farm stands in Granby and
Montague, farmers markets in Springfield and Boston, a CSA farm share program, and area stores and
restaurants. Red Fire Farm CSA shares are available in Amherst, Northampton, Granby, Springfield,
Greenfield, Montague, and more locations in the Boston area.
For more information about the August 28th Tomato Festival and directions to the Red Fire Farm stand at
7 Carver Street in Granby, check out www.redfirefarm.com.