Thunderstorms forced some schedule changes, but the seventh annual Palmetto Tasty Tomato Festival rolled on at City Roots Saturday.
The festival, presented by Sustainable Midlands, is a celebration of locally grown food and the people who grow it, the restaurants which serve it, the markets which sell it, and the people who eat it.
The storms rolling in Saturday provided a welcome break from the heat as clouds and a breeze arrived. The rain and lightning caused some delays in the music program, which included appearances by Luke Cunningham and Mac Leaphart, but the crowd adjusted, sheltering under cover until the skies cleared.
During the rain and the sunshine, one of the main festival attractions was the free heirloom tomato testing, featuring eight varieties of tomatoes supplied by growers from all over the state and prepared by a team of more than a dozen volunteers led by Karen Sundstrom.
“We start cutting tomatoes around 9:30 in the morning, and we cut between 400 and 500 pounds,” she said. “We have a lot of fun, and somehow we manage to taste every variety. Funny how that happens.”
This year’s tasting options included familiar names for tomato enthusiasts like the red brandywine and German Johnson, along with newcomers like the indigo blue, wild boar, and pineapple. “We don’t usually know until a day or two before what we’re going to get,” Sundstrom said. “It changes every year.”
More pictures from the festival are posted on the Midlands Anchor Facebook page.