Chicago's Tomato Queen

Chicago's Tomato Queen.png

Today was the Show Me Your Tomatoes contest at Cafe Ba Ba Reeba and I’m proud to announce that the winner is a local garden blogger and reader of Chicago Garden. Gina, who has been chronicling her gardening adventures at My Skinny Garden for the past two years, took home the prize for tastiest tomato and a trip for two to Las Vegas.

The winning tomato was a Cherokee Purple, an heirloom tomato, she grew in her own back yard using organic gardening principles. There is some debate as to the origin of the tomato. She purchased some Cherokee Purple tomatoes at a Chicago TomatoFest plant sale at Uncommon Ground, but also purchased some seedlings at Jewel earlier this spring.

When she posted a TwitPic of an ugly tomato she was also entering in the contest I was sure she was going to win. But Gina informs me that at an even uglier tomato was entered at the last minute that won that prize.

In the taste category the tomatoes were judged on aroma (1-5), texture (1-5), juices (1-5) and overall taste (1-10) Her Cherokee Purple was awarded a total score of 19 by the judges.

Just how tasty could this tomato have been?

“They put them out for people to taste afterward and a lady asked me if she could take some seeds,” says Gina. “And please address me as tomato queen from now on.”

Unfortunately, I can’t seem to convince Gina that I should get to go with her to Vegas since she read about the contest on this very blog.

“I’m taking the husband. He sat in the cold with me today during the judging,” she informs me.

Perhaps that’s for the best, she’d probably have me carry around her leaf tiara and walk two steps behind her in Las Vegas. If Gina and her husband of five months should come back to Chicago rich, I’m expecting a small cut of the winnings. Heck, I’d settle for some seeds of the prizewinning tomato.


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  • We've been savoring Cherokee Purples for 5 weeks or so, and they are delectable! The plant is showing signs of disease, however, and we're also harvesting a bounty of Japanese Black Trifele, another dark fruit with luscious flavored.
    btw, I still can be found eating at BaBa ReeBa now and then when I visit Chicago! Alice
    aka Bay Area Tendrils Garden Travel

  • In reply to AliceJoyce:

    You're making my mouth water! My JBT were a bust, maybe next year.

  • Congratulations Gina! How exciting!

    MBT, yep, I think you deserve a cut of any winnings. Did you bow to the Tomato Queen?

    I just picked my first ripe brandywine and purple Cherokee this morning. I've had ripe yellow pear tomatoes for about a week - don't like them much - too sweet and mealy, not enough tomatoey flavor. Next year I'll plant cherry tomatoes instead.

  • In reply to ssgardengirl:

    Haha, no. Although if we're at the potluck for Chicago TomatoFest I wouldn't be surprised if she shows up with her royal court and may grant us an audience with the Queen herself.

  • In reply to ssgardengirl:

    Congrats to Gina! We have a tomato tasting here, too, but we don't hand out cool prizes like you do in CHiTown!

  • In reply to ssgardengirl:

    I love tomatoes. I proclaim myself a loyal subject of the Tomato Queen. Where might I deliver my tribute to her?

  • In reply to KyraKyles:

    You can attend the TomatoFest Potluck Supper

    Although, from the comments it sounds like she may be freaking out because it will be at a bee farm.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  • My tomato growing was a disaster this year, so I too am living vicariously through the success of others.

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