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      Rough weather hurts annual tomato festival

      The 7th Annual Tomato Festival at the MU Bradford Research Farm combined healthy food and education.

      Perfectly shaped, red tomatoes are not always the best. Organizers of the festival said it TMs all about taste, not appearance. The ugliest tomato can taste delicious.

      Tomato Festival Organizer Tim Reinbott said, Some people just don TMt want to eat something that looks like that. It TMs dark on the outside. They kind of get a little bit shy of that. It TMs called Black Sea Man.

      Visitors sampled 115 varieties of tomatoes at this year TMs festival. New this year, were more than 60 pepper varieties ranging in flavor from very mild to very hot.

      Organizing a tomato festival actually takes a lot of work. It started back in February when they ordered the seeds. In April, they planted the seeds in a greenhouse. In June, they planted them in a plot on Bradford Farm.

      On July 3, an hour long hail storm damaged the tomato plants. The plants survived, regrew and rebloomed.

      Reinbott said, On top of that, we had three to four weeks of 95 plus degree temperatures. We TMve had some real struggles this year. As a result, only about half of them will be showcased today. Some of them have beautiful vines and very few fruits.

      Tomato and pepper experts at the festival gave informational talks about the history of tomatoes and peppers and their uses.

      This year TMs tomato festival also included free samples of salsa and chips from several Mid-Missouri businesses.