Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th August 2022 from 09.30am – 5pm daily
Pre-book via www.airfield.ie
After a two-year hiatus, the colourful “Totally Terrific Tomato Festival” is back with a smash and a brand-new venue. This year, Dublin’s favourite Urban Farm and Gardens, Airfield Estate, will play host to the two-day festival, where there’ll be no tomato shortages and plenty of fun to be had with tips aplenty from tomato growing enthusiasts and experts alike. Celebrating its 10th birthday this unique festival which champions the culture and diversity of tomatoes will have a specific focus on taste for its residence in Airfield on the weekend of August 27th & 28th 2022.
The cost of living has dramatically increased over the past few months, with the humble tomato causing political unrest in India (price of tomatoes has jumped 70% from a month ago, and vegetables have an unusual history of toppling governments in the country) (ref Bloomberg) . In Ireland, retailers have cited that the cost of tinned tomatoes has risen in price by 29% and a tray pack of tomatoes by almost 10% (ref RTE). Even if the consumer isn’t buying fresh produce, the humble tomato is used in a wide range of products including ketchup, prepared sauces, and convenience ready-made meals, so the costs have risen for these items too. Ireland does grow and produce tomatoes, but also imports over 25,000 tonnes last year (ref CSO) and add the outrageous fuel prices and other inflation factors it looks like the costs will continue on an upward spiral for the foreseeable future (ref RTE). Therefore, the ‘Totally Terrific Tomato Festival’ is the ideal destination for those looking to start growing their own or learning more about this versatile and precious commodity.
As was the intention of its founder Nicky Kyle, this festival will continue to celebrate the delicious and diverse fruit with a jaw dropping display of over 100 tomato varieties. Community involvement will be key to creating this display and already 60 tomato growers from across the country have pledged to grow tomatoes for the festival. Individuals who contribute tomatoes to the display will be automatically entered into the tomato competition with prizes awarded for several categories including the much-coveted title of “ugliest” tomato. This visually stimulating display will be accompanied by informative talks, tomato seed saving demonstrations, tomato growing tours and the all-important tomato taste test.
“Airfield Estate is encouraging people to get to know their food. We are delighted to put the spotlight on tomatoes and host the festival. The catalyst for bringing the festival to Airfield was the desire to carry out a tomato taste test, a sensory experiment whereby Airfield will pitch four distinct tomato varieties against each other to find the tastiest tomato for our garden team to grow. Our four open pollinated contenders have big boots to fill but ultimately with the help of the public the tastiest tomato will reign supreme” said Airfield Estate’s CEO, Claire MacEvilly.
For Colm O’Driscoll, Head Gardener at Airfield Estate The GAIA Seed Exchange trail in the UK was the initial inspiration behind the new addition to the Festival, The Tomato Taste Test as the GAIA celebrate their seeds and the stories behind them in order to connect the wider community with issues around crop genetic diversity just like the ‘totally Terrific Tomatoes Festival’ wishes to.
Whether you are a rookie gardener or a tomato grower this festival is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the Totally Terrific Tomato and ultimately will help you to get to know your tomatoes better. There will also be a series of talks and events throughout the two-day event with more to be confirmed. Scheduled talks and demonstrations for now include:
- Garden tour of tomato growing in Airfield including top tips on how to grow tomatoes.
- Tomato seed saving demonstrations.
- Demonstration on how to prune your tomato to make it more productive.
As with all community-based events, there will be a competition prize giving, for the ‘best in show’ or rather the ‘tastiest in show’.
Airfield Estate is located just off the M50 and reachable by LUAS to the Balally stop, by Bike with bike-parking onsite, by Bus routes 11,14, 14C, 44, 44B, 75, 116 and 175 and finally by Car or Coach taking the M50 to Junction 13, following the R826 for 2 kilometres to Overend Way.
Annual pass holders do not need to prebook to visit the Estate. Day tickets can also be purchased on arrival at the ticket desk, but workshops must be booked in advance where indicated.
To book your day pass please click here.
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