Hundreds Show Support for Missouri Tomatoes

6 years 4 months 1 week ago September 09, 2010 Sep 9, 2010 Thursday, September 09 2010 Thursday, September 09, 2010 10:06:42 PM CDT in News

COLUMBIA- Hundreds show support for Missouri Tomatoes.

The most humid summer on record has devastated the state's tomato crop. 

Organizers of MU's Tomato festival said most small growers lost their crop a month ago.

The effects of the harvest aren't limited to those who grow the food.  Melissa Applegate owns Jake's Gourmet foods in Columbia. She said she uses 40 to 60 lbs of tomatoes a week.

"You have to pass it on to the customer, or you can take it off the menu, but it's the tomato, the American fruit." 

Tim Reinbott is the superintendent of the Bradford Farm.  He said the tomato crop is the combination of heat and humidity.

"When you get such a hot summer and humidity, for fungus, it's heaven."  He added, "Crop rotation helps, using the right soil and nutrients, and, when needed, the right fungicides."

The festival showcased 91 types of tomato in a rainbow of colors, from the classic red and yellow to more nontraditional shades like black and purple.

The festival has recently increased its offerings of peppers.  This year, organizers cultivated 42 varieties from the relatively mild bell pepper to the chocolate habanero, which boasts a Scoville rating of 325,000. 

"It was a better season for the peppers than the tomatoes," Reinbott said, "They don't mind the heat so much"

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