Talk about an event that’s ripe for the picking! Maybe you didn’t grow any tomatoes of your own, or maybe you just really like them. Either way, you won’t want to miss a free Tomato Festival on Thursday Sept. 7. It’s a treat for your taste buds.

Photo courtesy of MU Extension Media

By Peg Cameron Gill

After a three-year hiatus, the famous annual Tomato Festival is back at MU Jefferson Farm & Garden in Columbia! Brought to you by MU Central Missouri Research, Extension and Education Center and MU Jefferson Farm and Garden, the Fest offers 100 varieties of tomatoes and 30 varieties of peppers to try.

Past festivals have included really hot varieties of peppers, such as the mouth-melting Ghost pepper variety. But don’t worry, all the different types are labeled so you won’t be in for any scorching surprises!

From 4–7PM you can also sample salsa, salad, and tomato products. Plus, watch an informative  presentation by Dr. Dave Trinklein, called “The Search For A More Flavorful Tomato.”

This family-friendly event has a lot of fun kids’ activities, including: A flavored milk tasting, pedal tractor, barnyard animals, and a play area–along with educational opportunities for all!

Heart of Missouri Master Gardeners will be selling perennials from the Butterfly Garden and more.

Don’t miss this chance to enjoy these colorful and flavorful varied veggies (Well, technically, tomatoes are fruits, based on the botanical classification. A botanical fruit has at least one seed and grows from the flower of the plant. With this definition in mind, tomatoes are classified as fruit because they contain seeds and grow from the flower of the tomato plant.)

The hosts are eager to share the fruits–and veggies–of their labor, and hear about your favorite flavors.

A bit about the event’s location: Jefferson Farm and Garden is a 67-acre educational farm designed to engage the community in experiences about food and agriculture. Jefferson Farm and Garden are committed to sharing the story of agriculture and demonstrating a vast array of Midwest farming, gardening, and conservation practices. As an outdoor classroom, Jefferson Farm and Garden aims to reach learners of all ages by connecting people to the land and enriching the community through workshops, field trips and special events.

To read an article about a very different type of farm also enriching its communityan urban oneclick here.

For hundreds more events, visit Missouri Life’s Event Calendar.