Friday, July 31, 2009

Some famous tomato fans!

During an exciting meeting with the folks over at Vocalo (more details on our partnership to follow soon!), we bumped into some celebrity heirloom enthusiasts... can you name them?

That's right, it's Melba Lara of WBEZ and Peter Sagal, the host of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me! We hope to see them both at the TomatoFest Potluck at the Honey Coop on September 10th.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Statement of Purpose: TomatoFest 2009

Chicago TomatoFest is Slow Food Chicago’s celebration of local heirloom tomatoes, promoting the people who grow, cook, and eat them.

Chicago TomatoFest celebrates the arrival of locally grown heirloom tomatoes with an annual potluck and, for the first time in 2009, The Old School BLT Bonanza. The city’s best chefs will promote local farmers by reinterpreting this American classic and making these summery creations available on their respective menus from August 17th to September 20th.

Restaurants participating in The Old School BLT Bonanza will sign a two-part pledge, promising to: a) use local heirlooms and (should they choose to use bacon) locally and sustainably raised pork, and b) publicly promote the farmers from whom they sourced these ingredients.

Chicago TomatoFest believes that a rising tide lifts all ships, especially when it comes to preserving our local food supply. We aim to:

1) Encourage individuals to plant their own food through our heirloom plant sale.
2) Create an annual event that will provide a sustainable market for heirloom varieties, encouraging more local farmers to plant them.
3) Facilitate relationships between farmers and restaurants to improve the accessibility of local products.
4) Promote biodiversity.
5) Generate media/public interest in heirlooms and other endangered tomato varieties on the Slow Food Ark of Taste by exposing Chicagoans to their unbeatable quality.
6) Promote Chicagoland restaurants that commit to our BLT pledge by buying from and endorsing local farms.

New Kid in Town

Hello, TomatoFest followers! My name is Alana and I was recently taken on by Slow Food Chicago as the official TomatoFest Coordinator. I will be posting articles featuring TomatoFest participants, ways for you to get involved and updates on the Old School BLT Bonanza (Damien Casten's tasty plan for exposing Chicagoans to the delights of the heirloom tomato-- more details to follow). You might see me taking pictures and chatting with people at farmer's markets or happily sampling some of the wonderful food this city has to offer (I have yet to try this deep dish, Chicago-style pizza everyone keeps raving about!). Needless to say, I'm very excited to be here, working for such an important and delicious cause.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Determinate vs. Inderterminate: Guest post on Chicago Now

Local garden blogger, photographer, and connector of people, Mr. BrownThumb asked me to do a guest post on his Chicago Now Blog describing determinate vs indeterminate tomato plants. My post is here.

Take a look around Mr. BrownThumb's site. He has unearthed some of the more interesting gardeners in Chicagoland and is a great source for information. For example, he followed my post with great info of staking tomato plants. He also has a flickr pool set up for Chicago Garden pics.