How many ways can you celebrate one round, red, fleshy fruit? Gary Ibsen, the man credited with single-handedly awakening a national interest in heirloom tomatoes, has found at least 350 ways to celebrate. It’s called the Carmel TomatoFest. Ibsen founded the yearly party in the early 1990’s and quickly grew it from a small dinner in his backyard to an event attended by hundreds of tomato lovers.
In this week’s Ag Traveler, Melanie Kim takes us to the Quail Lodge Resort, home to the Carmel TomatoFest. We’ll meet Quail Lodge Chef Matt Bolton who features an heirloom tomato and abalone salad on the Lodge’s menu. Then we’ll head out to the festival grounds to meet the man behind the heirloom movement – Gary Ibsen. We’ll experience everything tomato, tasting 350 varieties of heirlooms and 60 different tomato-centric culinary delights.