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tomato tasting at red fire farm

Posted: August 21 2012

Local Chefs, local food and the biggest bounty of tomato varieties grown anywhere in the Pioneer Valley come together on Saturday August 25th at the annual Red Fire Farm Tomato Festival.
The festival offers a tasting of over 100 varieties of locally grown organic tomatoes. The combination of the valley’s rich soils, abundant summer sun and the expertise of farmer Ryan Voiland and his crew’s many years of experience lead to the valley’s best selection of the quintessential summer fruit. Festival attendees judge the flavor of all the tomatoes the farm grows, whether they be slicers, heirlooms, saucers or bite-size cherry tomatoes.
Tomatoes can also be tasted in the chef tent. Chef Ben Lester of Wheatberry Café in Amherst is one of the founding members of the Pioneer Valley Heritage Grain, which grows and distributes heirloom grain varieties. As well as teaching culinary delights in the chef tent he will be also putting on his farmer’s hat at the festival leading a workshop in grain milling for the home user.  Another presenter, Chef Warren Leigh of Hydrangea Catering, is a European-trained chef who has brought a passion for local farm fresh ingredients to his event catering business.  Leigh has brought farm-to-table to new chefs as the president of the Pioneer Valley Culinary Association, a non-profit organization promoting the professional image of American chefs worldwide through culinary education at all levels.
Other food skill demonstrations include Valley Locavore’s Mary Nelen showing attendees how to preserve the bounty of summer tomatoes for enjoyment year round. In addition, workshops will be offered creating home-made condiments by chefs from Putney VT’s Community Supported Restaurant the Gleanery and flower arranging with Red Fire Farm’s flower growing guru Andrew Lacasse.  Local botanical expert John Root will also lead a wild edibles walk around the farm
Set on Red Fire’s active farm amidst productive fields and bustling barnyard, the festival brings together community members and other local agriculture aficionados 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, clothing, and pottery.  The farm stand stays open all day selling Red Fire Farm organically certified produce as well as many other local products.
Though the festival is focused on highlighting local agriculture and local agricultural producers and artists, Red Fire Farm will not forget other arts as well.  This year the festival will highlight Pioneer Valley favorites Lux Deluxe, Rusty Belle, Lisa Ellingsen and the Ellingtones,  and The Grownups lending selections to suit all musical tastes.
The day begins with a 5k race through the farm fields of Red Fire Farm beginning at 10:30 am with the festival to follow from 12-5 pm.
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 25th Tomato Festival and directions to the Red Fire Farm stand at 7 Carver Street in Granby, check out www.redfirefarm.com

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