Tomato crop red and ripe for Grainger County festival

6:34 PM, Jul 25, 2012   |    comments
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In just a couple of days thousands of people will head to Grainger County for a delicious East Tennessee tradition.

The Grainger County Tomato Festival starts this Friday and runs through Sunday.

Steve Longmire owns Tennessee Homegrown Tomatoes in Grainger County.  Longmire says extreme weather has cause an up-and-down growing season, but conditions came together at the right time for a tremendous crop for this weekend's festival.

"We're very fortunate because we had such extreme heat and then a lot of rain that can make the plants grow too fast.  But without a doubt, the tomatoes we're going to take to the festival this year are going to be above average. I mean the size is nice, the flavor, and the quality is just awesome.  We've been going to the festival every year and this will be the best crop we've ever brought."

Workers will spend Thursday hand-picking tomatoes off the vines on Longmire's farm to take to the festival Friday.

"They are going to be right off the vine," said Longmire.  "You need the crop to be very fresh for the festival and the ones on the vine this year are bright red and ripe.  You don't always get them this ripe while they are still on the vine."

A full schedule of events for this weekend's festival can be found at the Grainger County Tomato Festival website.

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