WILMINGTON — A parade of 110 tomatoes and 106 pepper varieties will be featured Saturday, Aug.13 as the Tomadah Paradah runs from 5 to 7 p.m. at Wilmington College’s Academic Farm at 1594 Fife Ave.
The seventh annual event, which is free of charge, is co-sponsored by WC’s Agriculture Dept. and Swindler & Sons Florists.
Dr. Monte Anderson, professor of agriculture, reports this has been a so-so growing season thus far for tomatoes — dry yet, considering the humidity, very little blight has been discovered. The heat has toughened the skin on some varieties.
They planted early but the tomatoes are behind in maturing, he said, but aficionados of summer’s favorite fruit need not worry; there will be tomatoes. With an accent on large varieties, look for both heirlooms and hybrids with names like German Strawberry, Big Rainbow, Park’s Whopper, Amana Orange, Assie and Abraham Lincoln.
Several varieties of tomato salsa also will be available to taste-test.
Dr. Don Chafin, professor of agriculture economists, will present on “New Mexico Chile Cuisine” at 6 p.m. — complete with a grill on which he will demonstrate how to roast chiles. Also, a variety of peppers will be on display with names like Cherry Bomb, Scottish Bonnet, Chocolate Beauty and Horna de Toro.
“We’ll have peppers ranging from no heat and low heat to big heat and killer heat — the kind that takes the hair off your tongue,” Chafin said.
Anderson noted that peppers are rated in the Scoville heat scale, which ranges in units from zero into the millions.
A typical habanero might be rated at 400,000 units while the infamous ghost peppers are in the 1.5 million-unit range. The Carolina Reaper, which is growing at the farm, shoots through the roof at 2.2 million units. Guinness World Records has ranked the Reaper as the world’s hottest since 2013.
Following Chafin’s presentation, at 6:30 p.m. winners of the biggest tomato competition will be announced. Swindler & Sons Florists is sponsoring prizes of $100, $75 and $50 for the heaviest ripe tomatoes. Swindlers will be weighing tomatoes at its Garden Center, 321 W. Locust St., through noon Aug. 13.