Win 2 tickets to the First Annual Mid-Atlantic Red Fruit Festival.

The Mid-Atlantic Red Fruit Festival is an annual reception celebrating the spectacular regional produce of the Mid-Atlantic region. Each year the event will showcase a “red” fruit and 2010 kicks off with the delicious and juicy TOMATO. At the fest, local area farmers will be sourcing DC area’s most talents chefs such as Todd Gray, RJ Cooper, Xavier DeShayes, and Kaz Okochi in order to create spectacular dishes that best showcase the tomato. What will be their inspiration? Home Cooks! 15 Recipes that were submitted will be awarded prizes in 5 contest categories and have a top area chef cook their winning recipe. Festival attendees will get to enjoy the winning 15 tomato-inspired dishes paired with the perfect wine.

Exclusively for gastronomes and tomato enthusiasts, this event is hosted by the International Wine & Food Festival and serves as the home of the SEEDS TO SCHOOLS program, a landmark public drive that collects and redistributes seeds to schools and community gardens in our region that have a demonstrated commitment to engaging children with life science and nutrition.

The Who: Hosted by The International Wine & Food Festival

The What: The Mid-Atlantic Red Fruit Festival

When: Friday, September 24, 2010 from 6-8 p.m.

Where: Woodrow Wilson Plaza at the International Trade Center and Ronald Reagan Building

Tickets are just $35 but you could WIN 2 Tickets, exclusively at Dining in DC!  Your ticket to this outdoor festival includes admission to the event where you will enjoy 15 winning recipe contest dishes prepared by renowned area chefs and paired with wine.

To Win, simply comment below about a memorable tomato experience. Maybe a favorite dish, childhood memory, cooking experience or a memorable experience dining at a restaurant. You must be subscribed to Dining in DC to be eligible to win the tickets. The email used to comment below must be the same email address used in the subscription. All entries are due by midnight Friday, September 17. Winners will be notified on Monday, September 20. Good Luck!

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24 Responses

  1. I had some very memorable tomato experiences this summer when I went to the Middleburg Farmers market and bought yellow tomatoes from Ayreshire Farmes. I have never tasted something so amazing!

  2. I absolutely love tomatoes. I remember when I was little, my family and I visited my dad’s friend in Odessa (Ukraine) and they had tomatoes the size of a child’s head. I’m not kidding. They were ginormous and so sweet!

  3. Nothing says summer than a red ripe tomato sandwich with mayo/salt/pepper. Yum!!!!

  4. I actually didn’t really tomatoes as a kid/teen… but I’ve warmed up to them since. I think my tomato-epithany moment happened in Spain actually… but one of the most memorable tomato experience I had was finding gazpacho at the McDonald in Salamanca, Spain. It was just neat, almost reconciled me with McDonalds for a little bit…

  5. Ever since I was a child, my favorite summer dish would be on Sundays after we’d pick fresh tomatoes and make tomato, basil, mozzarella on fresh rosemary bread. I’ll never forget those good time picking tomatoes and struggling to slice them to the perfect size.

  6. I used to HATE tomatoes, but I always loved ketchup! Finally, after college, I was convinced to try a tomato on a grilled cheese sandwich. Lo and behold, I discovered the delicious taste of tomatoes! Now I will eat them sliced on sandwiches, in salads, and of course, melted into a gooey grilled cheese!

  7. Boston, circa 2003. Illegal 12″ pot on narrow ledge outside my bedroom window contains one precious patio tomato plant, my very first grown from seed, my very first vegetable child. It could fall & kill someone on sidewalk below at any time, but I would be far more sad to lose my precious plant. Finally, my first tomato…is less than 2 inches diameter! But I savor that baby for a full five minutes (talk about small bites). Full of flavor, vitality, acid, freshness – I feel like I’m eating a real tomato for the first time, all other tomatoes have been plastic. It’s actually life changing.

  8. I never have really had a memorable tomato experience until recently. Tomatoes were rare in my childhood, unless they came in the form of canned tomato paste.
    A recent recipe contest from Mango & Tomato caused me to challenge myself and find out once and for all if I really do like tomatoes!
    I made a bloody mary, tomato salsa, and tomato soup cakes and found them all pretty tasty! The recipe contest helped me find out how I like tomatoes and that they’re quite easy too cook with. It also challenged me find tomato in all different forms in stores and markets.

  9. My favorite tomato experience happened in Rome, Italy. I was traveling back to the area where my mom’s ancestors came from, and we stopped for lunch in this restaurant in the basement of an old, stone building. I ordered the house special, not having any idea of what I had ordered. Soon, the waitress pushes a cart to our table with this HUGE circle of parmesean cheese. She smiles, pours brandy in it, lights it on fire, and once she gets the fire out, proceeds to roll my pasta in the melted surface of the cheese. Then tosses it all into a bowl of homemade tomato sauce so red and chunky and fresh you could practically smell the soil that grew the tomatoes. She dished it all up on my plate, and matter of factly pushed the cart away like we’d met in a grocery store. Something so common to her was so amazing to us.

  10. As a kid, I hated tomatoes with a passion (unless it came in ketchup form). But that all changed when I tasted my first heirloom at Cafe Saint-Ex a couple years ago. I had the Tuscarora Farms Cherokee Purple, which came sliced and sprinkled with sea salt, a drizzle of olive oil, and a few dabs of lemon goat cheese on the plate. I was completely surprised by the sudden burst of sunny sweetness and savory, almost meaty flavor. This was nothing like what I remembered of those sad, pale globes at the grocery store. There was no turning back. I turned into a tomato-holic. True story!

  11. My memorable TOMATO experience brings me back to my childhood where I grew up in a small Midwestern town. Each summer my great and grandmother would plant a had a huge garden which always included beef steak TOMATO. The highlight of the summer was always harvesting a BIG fresh TOMATO off the vine and making a yummy BLT sandwich on their homemade toasted bread. Incredible flavor and a food memory I still cherish forever…and wish I could reproduce…

  12. My favorite tomatoes are always the ones my grandfather gives me straight from his garden. He’s been growing them for 30+ years and I love the cherry ones, straight off the vine, warm from the sun!

  13. My partners father grows his own tomato plantes in these small containers. He has 40 containers with these growing guides he has condtructed himself. When we go to visit he picks the tomatos and we simply slice and mayo two slices of bread a little salt and eat. Yum Yum. Other times we just eat them like an apple. True heaven.

  14. I never really enjoyed tomatoes, until I had local grown ones on the BEST grilled cheese sandwich I’ve ever had at The Wine Kitchen. I think I’m changing my tomato tune! 🙂

  15. My favorite tomato memory was the first time I tried bruschetta. I was working at an Italian restaurant. I couldn’t believe how good a simple dish of tomatoes, basil, red onions, and balsamic vinegar could taste. To this day it’s my fave tomato dish.

    Congrats on your express nomination!

  16. I remember the first time I tried heirloom tomatoes vividly – it was at the Sacramento Farmers’ Market. There were tomatoes in practically all shades of the rainbow, and the farmers were offering generous tastes of them all. I must have tasted no less than two dozen varieties before deciding what to buy. Tomato heaven!

  17. Ahhh, tomatoes…I’ve grown to appreciate the multiude of varieties as I have with mushrooms. Both I didn’t appreciate as a kid but as an adult there are so many to try. I think my first Fried Green Tomato experience was shortly after the movie came out at Ardeo in Cleveland Park on Connecticut Avenue…My mom had the cold yellow tomato soup too and we were in heaven!

  18. Tomatoes are a way of life in North Carolina, as I learned shortly after my parents divorced when I was 6. My summers got turned upside down and out of DC into population 4,000 rural NC with my grandmother. My daily Saturday routine of cartoons turned into hours in the garden, dealing with tomatoes of all varieties. Just about when I thought I hated NC, heat and tomatoes, they all ripened. I ate my first heirloom tomato, rinsed off with a garden hose, outside like an apple. From then on, tomatoes were part of the secret code my grandmother and I developed as she taught me the basics of gardening, cooking and life in general. The first tomato of the summer always reminds me of tomato sandwiches, on her homemade sourdough bread, with tons of Dukes Mayo (only ever Dukes!) and salt and pepper. For a kid trying to find some roots after that divorce, the tomato garden was a pretty literal way to accomplish just that.

  19. Funniest ever was when I was a kid and my dad was trying to get me to like tomatoes. He bit into one like an apple trying to show me it was actually a fruit. Apparently he had never done that before, didn’t like the consistency and threw up!

    As a kid I always liked pizza, spaghetti, etc. but it did take a little growing up before I truly enjoyed tomatoes on thier own…

  20. My most memorable tomato experience was recently at a Farm to Table dinner based on the end of tomato harvest at Lyon Hall. 5 courses, paired expertly with wine, each incorporating a different locally grown variety of tomato in some way. In some dishes, like the tomato and watermelon salad, it was the clear star, but in others, like the pork loin with bacon and roasted corn, a few roasted cherry tomatoes provided a perfect accent. The stand out was the dessert: a plum and tomato tart tatin with smoked vanilla ice cream. The dinner really showcased the versatility of tomatoes, and it surprised me how they can be used in both sweet and savory dishes alike to delicious effect. It made me want to experiment more in my own cooking. Alas, I must wait until next tomato season!

  21. Hands down the best tomato memory I have is eating homemade bruschetta with my aunt. It was always when our family would visit her down at the Jersey shore and so fresh, Jersey tomatoes were always plentiful. She taught me how to make this simple but delicious recipe when I was 12 yrs old and I have never forgotten it since!

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