Do your tomatoes have what it takes to compete with other backyard growers' tomatoes? You can find out by entering the eighth annual Homegrown Tomato Challenge, sponsored by NatureSweet Tomatoes and Raley's.
There are two parts to the competition:
To enter the "homegrown tomato skill contest": Between 9 and 11 a.m. on Aug. 21, bring three large or 10 small tomatoes to the tent that will be set up in the Raley's parking lot at 25025 Blue Ravine Road, Folsom. Only one entry per household will be allowed.
The tomatoes will be tested for sugar content, and the finalists' entries will then be tasted and judged. Two grand-prize winners will each be $2,500 richer; four runners-up will each get $250 in Raley's gift cards.
To enter the "cherry tomato cooking contest": Write a 100- to 200-word essay about "why you love cooking with tomatoes." Do this on the NatureSweet Homegrown Challenge Facebook page between July 5 and Aug. 6. Three entrants will be chosen and notified by Aug. 14.
That trio will cook their dishes at the Aug. 21 event in Folsom, using "a bag of secret ingredients" furnished by NatureSweet. After the judging, the winner will get $2,500 and the two runners-up will each get $250 in Raley's gift cards.
For more information: (210) 396-3966 and www.naturesweettomatoes.com.