25,000 celebrate the tomato in Almería

About 25,000 people were gathered on February 18 for the big tomato party held in the centre of the city of Almería. The province produces around one billion kilos of different varieties of tomatoes each season. Its main destinations are the international markets, with 70% of production being exported.

This event has been organised by companies operating in the fruit and vegetable sector together with local media partners, (La Voz de Almería newspaper and Cadena SER) and the support of the City Council of Almería, the Provincial Council and the entity Cajamar. All the activities were related to the tomato, its nutritional and gastronomic properties and the people and organisations that make it relevant as the leading product of the agro-industry of Almería.

First thing in the morning, in the Plaza Vieja, in the very centre of the capital, the participants gathered and joined the celebration to the rhythm of the charanga band. A healthy breakfast made up of sliced bread with crushed tomato, olive oil and coffee began the day. Another delicious gastronomic proposal was the highlight of midday, in this case, an appetizer made up of sliced bread with sausage and gazpacho. Both gastronomic treats were sold for only one Euro, and all the money collected will go to two NGOs, the Red Cross and ANDA (Association for Children with Disability in Almería).

Between breakfast and appetizers, the different activities took place. Children played the leading role and enjoyed a dance workshop, a drawing competition (whose winners will see their drawings published in La Voz de Almería newspaper) and a face painting workshop, all held in the marquee of the Red Cross.

Throughout the whole morning, an interesting tomato tasting took place in the Plaza organised by the Fundación Tecnova, the reference and research centre within the ancillary industry for agriculture, post-harvest and food production packaging. The tasting was of great interest to the attendees. Also the interesting exhibition “10 reasons to fall in love with tomatoes from Almería” remained open the whole morning. This exhibition explained in detail the qualities, uses and socioeconomic arguments on which the excellence of the tomato from Almería is based. Also, companies belonging to the agri-food industry sector showed their products on their stands: Agrupalmería, Almazara de Canjáyar, Caparrós Nature, Cervezas Origen, Agroponiente, Vegacañada, Embutidos Alpujarreños de Laujar, Sabor a vida and Café Salvador.

Finally, as expected in a day dedicated to this product, the attendees could buy tomatoes. For only one Euro, and also for charity purposes, the attendees could buy a bag full of tomatoes provided by big companies within this sector such as Casi, Única Group, La Unión, Vicasol, Hortamar, Coprohnijar, Agroponiente, Vegacañada and Agrupalmería.

The hotel industry of the capital, through the Provincial Association of Hotel Industry Businessmen (ASHAL), also joined in to highlight the relevance of the tomato from Almería, in this case, for local gastronomy and participated in the promotion of the product through one of the most typical culinary institutions of Almería: “tapas”. Sixteen bars and restaurants in the centre of Almería included special “tapas”, whose main ingredient was tomato, on their menu on Saturday and Sunday: Lamarca San Francisco, Taberna Nuevo Torreluz, 2 Culturas, Habibi, Quinto Toro, Foody Allen, El Chaflán, La Encina, Bella Ciao, Bodegas Las Botas, Bodeguilla de la Contraviesa, La Consentida, La Tahona, Cervecería Baviera, Doña Lola and La Maltería.

Concert and tribute to women in agriculture
The main event within this Tomato Day had a musical ingredient of great flavour. In mid-morning, the well-known group, Los Vinilos, performed its celebrated versions of Spanish pop of the 80’s in a concert that lasted until midday, with only a break to pay tribute to women from the fields of Almería.

In this third edition, the organisation of Tomato Day wanted to recognise the effort, work and intelligence of thousands of women farmers and workers of the cooperatives and agricultural companies who are responsible for Almería becoming the World’s Tomato Capital. Some of those female representatives were awarded with a gold badge.

Those who spent the morning in the Plaza Vieja in Almería could see an exhibition of Seat and Ford cars, attend the live radio broadcasting of a special radio programme, have pictures taken with the mascot Tomatal and, in short, enjoy a full family day out and claim Almería as the tomato’s capital.

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