August and tomato tasting collide at Community Education Garden

By Mary Fran McClure
WSU Chelan/Douglas County Master Gardener
August 10, 2022

Tomato tasters on one side get to judge their favorites while Master Gardener slicers put out tasty tomato bites on the other side of the table. This photo was taken during a Tomato Gala a few years ago. – Provided photo/Mary Fran McClure

Mary Fran McClure
Mary Fran McClure – WSU Extension Chelan/Douglas County Master Gardener – photo by Don Seabrook, Wenatchee World

Fingers crossed, tomatoes will be in abundance for our free 12th annual Tomato Gala on Saturday, Aug. 20. Come taste a huge variety of tomatoes from 10 a.m. to noon that day at the WSU/Chelan-Douglas Master Gardeners’ Community Education Garden on the northwest corner of Western and Springwater avenues in Wenatchee.

We’ve become flexible coping with August’s whims. In 2019, it was smoke problems from wildfires. In 2020, COVID shut us down and we shared a video. Last year’s hot spring was a challenge because hot weather and tomato fruit set aren’t very compatible, although we persevered. This year, we’re confident (or hopeful) we can cope with most anything thrown at us!

At Tomato Gala registration that morning, you’ll receive a ballot and pencil so you can note your favorite tomatoes in each category. There’s an extra ballot side if you want to jot down your own notes for growing next year’s crop. Names of the top-rated winners at Tomato Gala will be published in The Wenatchee World the following week.

Everyone gets to taste different tomato varieties from our lineup of four major categories: heirloom, hybrid, paste and cherry types.

In addition to sampling tomatoes, bring your plant questions to the diagnostics table. Perhaps you’re puzzled by those tomatoes with dark ends and want to learn what that has to do with hot weather and watering. Maybe you’re coping with insect or disease problems. You might have other garden questions about hot weather plant problems, flowers, starting winter vegetables or coping with a summer watering schedule.

You have an opportunity to support Master Gardeners by purchasing Atlas gloves and lots of other helpful garden related goodies at the foundation table. A bonus is the Chelan County Fair table encouraging you to enter flowers, fruit and vegetables — and earning money for doing it!

In between these activities, take a chair and enjoy visiting under the shade trees along Western Avenue or wander through the garden’s themed areas, from attracting butterflies to information on deer-resistant plants. The raised vegetable beds offer some interesting trellis and support ideas. The newly established cottage garden is getting lots of admiration this summer.

Rockscape Products of East Wenatchee is this month’s Third Saturday sponsor and our favorite provider of mulches and soil at our education garden.


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