2016 Massachusetts Tomato Contest Draws 88 Entries

Farmers from Sharon, N. Easton, Tewksbury, Holliston and Pepperell take top honors at 32nd annual event

BOSTON – August 24, 2016 – Massachusetts environmental officials joined tomato farmers from across the state today at the KITCHEN at Boston Public Market for the Commonwealth’s 31st Annual Tomato Contest. Designed to increase awareness of locally grown produce, this year’s contest drew 88 entries from 16 farms.

After the entries were judged by a panel of food writers, chefs, produce experts and state officials on flavor, firmness/slicing quality, exterior color and shape,  Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) Commissioner John Lebeaux announced that the top prizes went to farmers from Sharon, N. Easton, Tewksbury, Holliston and Pepperell.

“The Tomato Contest is a great, fun tradition that helps strengthen consumers’ awareness of Massachusetts-grown produce,” said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Matthew Beaton. “Despite facing challenges due to the ongoing drought conditions, Massachusetts farmers are still growing high-quality produce, as shown by the outstanding tomatoes entered in today’s competition. I encourage all Massachusetts residents to support their local farmers by buying locally grown food products.”

“The annual Tomato Contest is a great opportunity to celebrate our growers from across the Commonwealth,” said DAR Commissioner John Lebeaux. “Our farmers and food producers grow the highest quality products and today were able to showcase some of their most flavorful, plump and tender tomatoes right off the vine.”

In addition to the presentation of awards, today’s Tomato Contest included a Healthy Cooking Demonstration by UMass Extension, tomato tasting and information on nutrition and local farms. The contest is sponsored by DAR, the New England Vegetable and Berry Growers Association and Mass Farmers’ Markets and was hosted by the Boston Public Market Association and Trustees of Reservations.

“This tomato contest is a great opportunity to showcase farmers from across the Commonwealth who produce nutritious and local food all season long,” said Senator Joseph A. Boncore (D-East Boston). “The contest is also a great way to support our hard working farmers, while highlighting the versatility of the KITCHEN in the Boston Public Market.

“We are thrilled to host the Annual Tomato Contest for the second time at the Boston Public Market,” said Cheryl Cronin, CEO of the Boston Public Market. “The Market was developed to support our region’s agriculture and give local farmers more opportunity to reach the Boston audience and showcase their beautiful produce. Our mission is to provide healthy food to our community and educate the public about food sources and nutrition — this tomato contest is a great example of the programming that we offer our customers each day at the Boston Public Market.”

“We are excited to hold MDAR’s Annual Tomato Contest again this year in The KITCHEN at the Boston Public Market.  As a founding partner of the Boston Public Market, The Trustees educates Massachusetts residents and visitors about the benefits of eating seasonal food, supporting local agriculture and promoting healthy living,” said  Lieza Dagher, Trustees’ Program Director of The KITCHEN at the Boston Public Market.  “We are delighted to partner with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources to showcase to our community in downtown Boston the diversity of flavor, color, shape and size of tomatoes grown by farmers across the Commonwealth.”

Of the more than 7,700 farms in Massachusetts, 759 annually produce more than 9.2 million pounds of tomatoes on 685 acres with a value of approximately $12 million. Consumers can find farmers’ markets, farm stands and other opportunities to buy local here.

Massachusetts Tomato Contest Winners, 2016

Slicing Category

Place Farm Name Town Variety
1 Ward’s Berry Farm Sharon Black Velvet
2 Langwater Farm N. Easton BHN 1021
3 Langwater Farm N. Easton BHN 589
4 East Street Farm Tewksbury Rocky Top
5 East Street Farm Tewksbury BHN 589
6 Ward’s Berry Farm Sharon BHN 589
7 C & C Reading Farm Bryantville Big Beef
8 Brox Farm Dracut BHN 589
9 Farmer Daves Dracut BHN 589
10 Farmer Daves Dracut Rocky Top


Cherry Category

Place Farm Name Town Variety
1 Langwater Farm N. Easton Sungold
2 East Street Farm Tewksbury Tumbling Tom Red
3 Ward’s Berry Farm Sharon Sungold
4 Stillman’s Farm New Braintree Black Cherry
5 C & C Reading Farm Bryantville Sunsugar
6 Farmer Daves Dracut Sungold
7 Brox Farm Dracut Green Tiger
8 Langwater Farm N. Easton Sunpeach
9 Still Life Farm Hardwick Pink Tiger
10 Still Life Farm Hardwick Sun Sugar

Heirloom Category

Place Farm Name Town Variety
1 MacArthur Farm Holliston Yellow Brandywine
2 Kimball Fruit Farm Pepperell Mortgage Lifter
3 Ward’s Berry Farm Sharon Striped German
4 Five College Farms Hadley Cherokee Purple
5 Kimball Fruit Farm Pepperell Cherokee Purple
6 Five College Farms Hadley Striped German
7 Five College Farms Hadley German Johnson
8 Langwater Farm N. Easton German Johnson
9 Sienna Farms Sudbury Striped German
10 Harper’s Farm & Garden Lancaster Arkansas Traveler

Heaviest Category

Weight Farm Name Town Variety Weight
2.68 Kimball Fruit Farm Pepperell Mexico 2.68
2.45 Langwater Farm N. Easton Striped German 2.45
2.26 Ward’s Berry Farm Sharon Striped German 2.26
1.97 Harper’s Farm & Garden Lancaster Brandywine 1.97
1.83 Red Fire Farm Granby Striped German 1.83
1.77 Ladybug Farm Hubbardston Oxheart 1.77
1.72 East Street Farm Tewksbury Amana Orange 1.72
1.68 Brox Farm Dracut Amana Orange 1.68
1.64 Farmer Daves Dracut Striped German 1.64
1.36 Five College Farms Hadley Striped German 1.36
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