US (MA): Concord farms win big in Boston tomato contest

Susan Macone and Anthony J. Rogers couldn’t believe it when they were awarded four trophies at the 29th annual Massachusetts Tomato Contest on Boston’s City Hall Plaza last week. In June, Macone and Rogers, who farm roughly 12 acres of land together on Fitchburg Turnpike, lost half of their tomato crop this year due to flooding. Since they’ve participated in the contest every year going back to 2009, they said they still wanted to compete this year even though they didn’t think they had a good shot.

“This one really hits home,” Rogers said Tuesday morning as he looked at a picture on Macone’s computer of the flooding that took place in June.

Out of four categories, they placed sixth in the “slicing category” with their Mountain Fresh tomato variety; second place in the “cherry category” with their Sungold tomato; first, second and fifth place in the “heirloom category” with their Mr. Stripey tomato coming in first, the Macone Farm heirloom tomato in second and the Ponderosa Pink tomato placing fifth; and they won second in the “heaviest tomato category” with their Mr. Stripey tomato weighing in at 1.94 pounds.

According to the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, tomatoes were judged by a panel of experts based on flavor, firmness/slicing quality, exterior color and shape. The event is sponsored by the state Department of Agricultural Resources, New England Vegetable and Berry Growers Association and Mass Farmers Markets.

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