Tomato Festival Introduces Chocolate Cayenne Ice Cream

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COLUMBIA - The Bradford Research and Extension Center hosted the ninth annual "Tomato Festival" Thursday welcoming taste-testers, farmers, and the new chocolate cayenne pepper ice cream.

Tim Reinbott is in charge of the festival and said the ice cream is new this year and has a kick to it. "You taste and and think, oh, not so bad. Then, oh I taste that!"

Tim Reinbott grew up on a farm in the "Bootheel" of Missouri and remembers waking up early with his mom to pick green beans, black-eyes peas, and tomatoes. He said he can still remember the smell of his mom's green tomato relish he helped her make.

Reinbott does not live on a farm anymore, but said once he left the farm he was drawn back and is now the one in charge of the festival.

Nine years ago the festival had about 25 varieties of tomatoes and 15 different peppers. Now, there are about 150 different tomatoes and a variety of 120 different peppers, according to Reinbott.

This is the first year for the Four-Chef-Cookoff where chefs showed people how they they make their sauces and let the people vote on which sauce they like the best.

The Kid's Corner is also new to the festival this year and Reinbott's son works with kids, letting them climb up in tractors and showing them how they work. He enjoys the informative seminars at the festival, but his favorite part is trying the hot peppers.

Each year, representatives present different seminars. Fred Vasey is a recreational farmer and has attended the festival for four years. He said he enjoys taking notes in the seminars because he feeds himself and the bugs in his garden.

He said he eats hot peppers often, so he was not embarrassed to say he bit into a couple peppers that were so hot he had to drink a glass of milk.

Reinbott said he enjoys watching people like Vasey as they try the hot peppers. He said it is easy to tell if they like the taste or if they will need a glass of milk.