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to-may-to/to-mah-to – everybody a winner Vicki’s Heirloom Hurrah

Councillor Steve Ferguson with Hospice Prince Edward's Laura Ricketts and the harvest of the Great Tomato Challenge.

Councillor Steve Ferguson with Hospice Prince Edward’s Laura Ricketts and the harvest of the Great Tomato Challenge.

Two County charities were the true winners of a summer gardening challenge between a County-born mayor and an urban import councillor.

Though the examining and eating of the Striped German Tomato Challenge entries brought a tie vote for the entries from Mayor Robert Quaiff and councillor Steve Ferguson, their attempts to grow the finest possible tomato harvested about $1,400 for Hospice Prince Edward and the PEC Splash Pad Project.

The challenge was born on the Victoria Day weekend as both men were purchasing seedlings at Vicki’s Veggies tomato seedling sale. Garden quips of “city boy” versus “County boy” continued in a challenge where each sought pledges throughout the summer to support the causes – Ferguson raising about $800, Quaiff about $600 so far.

Vicki Emlaw, Eric Baxter and Patricia Gale were the official judges of the tomatoes' appearance, weight and taste. Here, Gale notes an un-approved method of hiding "blight"

Vicki Emlaw, Eric Baxter and Patricia Gale were the official judges of the tomatoes’ appearance, weight and taste. Here, Gale notes an un-approved method of hiding “blight”

Each man worked, proded, cajoled and encouraged three Striped German tomato plants to be judged at Vicki’s Veggies’ Heirloom Hurrah tomato tasting event on the Labour Day Weekend.

Vicki Emlaw, Eric Baxter and Patricia Gale were the official judges of the tomatoes’ appearance, weight and taste.

Ferguson was pleased with his entry and noted he could have easily won over Quaiff if they were also judged on presentation as his tomatoes arrived nicely packaged while Quaiff’s were delivered in a shoebox.

“Quaiff talked about a tip of using plastic forks around the tomatoes to keep the chipmunks away,” said Ferguson. “For me, all that did was provide a ladder for them.”

Quaiff was unable to attend the judging but Ferguson noted the real winners were the two charities. He is considering a re-match for next year.

“We are extremely grateful, as always, to benefit from this fun event,” said Laura Ricketts, Hospice Prince Edward executive director as she cheerfully posed for a photograph with the giant tomatoes.

More than 100 varieties available for tasting.

More than 100 varieties available for tasting.

Meanwhile, hundreds of tomato fans combed the grounds for Vicki’s Heirloom Tomato Tasting event in which more than 100 specialty and artisanal varieties could be sampled, purchased and favourites noted to be put on the seedling order list for next spring.

“It’s been amazing. We also have 21 vendors – the most ever,” said Emlaw. “A few people who have never been here before mixed in with others who have come back for years and another who just moved here a few months ago.”

Some of the vendors had sold-out by mid-afternoon and had to re-stock as the annual event continued to welcome crowds on Sunday.

Vicki Emlaw, right, greets long-time friends, supporters and her very first customers - Michael, Debbie, Kai and Daniel.

Vicki Emlaw, right, laughs with long-time friends, supporters and her very first customers of many years ago – Michael, Debbie, Kai and Daniel.

Ainsley Fraser was delighted with her visit to the event having made a puppet she named Sally and buying a bouquet of fresh cut flowers.

Ainsley Fraser was delighted with her visit to the event having made a puppet she named Sally and buying a bouquet of fresh cut flowers.

 

Filed Under: Featured ArticlesWhat's To Eat?

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