Bay State’s best tomatoes judged at City Hall Plaza’s Farmers’ Market

Mega-tomatoes and "Best Tomato" trophies at the 28th Annual Tomato Festival and Contest.

Nothing says summer like biting into a plump, juicy, sun kissed tomato. At least that’s how it looked today at City Hall Plaza as several bystanders reached under ribbon partitions that separated them from hundreds of Massachusetts’ top tier tomatoes.

The tempting fruits were there for the city’s 28th Annual Tomato Festival and Contest.

The event kicked off Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Week, which runs until Saturday.

Before the judging began at 12:30 p.m., Marie Hills, of Kymball Fruit Farms in Pepperell, said she has seen first hand the love Boston has for its farmers’ markets.

“Taste is a huge part of it. People come out of their way to come to the farmers’ market. Why would you come unless you know you are going to get fresh quality – it may not be the cheapest – but it is certainly the freshest quality,” she said. “Most of the stuff we bring down is picked that morning. You can’t get it any fresher… Look at the growth in the farmers’ market in Boston. It’s been huge.”

The contest boasted hundreds of red, yellow and green tomatoes of all shapes and sizes. As eager farmers’ market visitors passed by, helping themselves to slices, it was clear that Boston has a taste for freshness.

Later, Kymball Fruit Farms took home two first place prizes for its tomatoes
today – one in the “best slicing tomato” category, and another in the
“weight” category.

Prizes were also given for “best cherry tomatoes” and “best heirloom tomatoes.”

The victory is nothing new for Hills, whose farm offers produce for 13 farmers’ markets throughout the Boston-area.

“We have won and placed every year except for maybe one. We do pretty
well, which is exciting for us, because we do a lot of work and its a
nice way to get a pat on the back,” she said,  adding that her farm has in the past started growing certain produce at the request of farmers’ market customers.

“We’ll start growing something, and it takes off. So our customers help teach us, we help teach them. We need each other,” she said. “If it wasn’t for farmer’s markets, our farm, which is 140 acres of cultivated land, could have been houses,” she said.

Today’s contest was set to the backdrop of City Hall Plaza’s popular Farmers’ Market along Cambridge Street, where Westport Farmer Doris Mills sells her peaches.

“We grow (our produce), and we bring it in fresh. Customers really like that. They love our peaches,” said Mills, who grows at Noquochoke Orchards near the Westport River. “They’re very juicy, they’re soft. They’re not dry and hard like you’d see at the store. People in the city really appreciate the freshness.”

Mayor Thomas M. Menino said today that city officials intend to keep pushing a progressive farmers’ markets agenda

“Farmers’ markets also contribute to the economy.  I travel around our city all the time, and I see many farmers markets that are packed with people, generating lots of sales for vendors,” Menino said.  “And those same people tend to hang out in the neighborhood and visit the local shops in the Main Street District.  So farmers markets are a win-win enterprise.”


Body found believed to be missing Fitchburg boy…

The body of a child found off of a highway in Sterling last week is likely that of missing Fitchburg boy Jeremiah Oliver, authorities said.


Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…


Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.


Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.


'Orphan Black' recap: Episode 1, ‘Nature Under Constraint…

Welcome to “Orphan Black” Season 2! Hopefully Tatiana Maslany can help Tatiana Maslany get through this, with the help of Tatiana Maslany, while avoiding the…


Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."


MLB video highlights: Red Sox defeat Orioles, 4-2

Brock Holt the difference in the Red Sox' win


NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump…

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump Bruins in Game 1


MLB video highlights: Orioles top Red Sox, 8-4…

John Lackey roughed up for second straight outing


MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox


How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.


VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.


#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.


Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.