Thursday, August 28, 2014

Capay Tomato festival offers fun for the whole family

Families can taste just-harvested tomatoes and vote for their favorites at Capay Tomato, the fifth annual festival celebrating our region's signature crop. Courtesy photo

Farm Fresh To You and Capay Organic invite the public to Capay Tomato, the farm’s fifth annual festival, which celebrates the taste of organic heirloom and cherry tomatoes.

The event will take place Saturday, July 14, from 3 to 11 p.m. and features a full slate of activities for all ages, including tomato tastings, farm tours and live music throughout the afternoon and into the evening.

Attendees are invited to camp overnight in the farm orchards. The farm is at 23800 State Highway 16 in Capay.

Event proceeds benefit the Kathleen Barsotti Non-Profit for Sustainable Agriculture, which presents an annual scholarship to a high school senior who plans to pursue a field related to sustainable agriculture. The nonprofit also donates school supplies to farmworker families in the Capay Valley.

“We welcome the public to our farm for the biggest event of our farm tour season,” said Thaddeus Barsotti, farmer and co-owner of Farm Fresh To You. “There’s nothing like the taste of just-harvested, heirloom tomatoes to celebrate the bounty of summer.

“The Capay Tomato festival is our company’s mission in action — connecting people with the land that grows their food.”

Visitors will be able to taste the following varieties:

* Heirlooms: Brandywine, Green Zebra, Cherokee Purple, Vintage Wine and Marvel;

* Cherry tomatoes: Chiquita, Golden Nugget, Sungold, Sweet 100;

* Large slicer tomatoes: Striped Roman and San Marzano.

The 2011 heirloom tomato tasting winner was the striped Marvel, with the Chiquita variety taking the cherry tomato category.

In addition, tacos and sandwiches from local purveyors made with farm produce will be sold. Elote corn will be roasted with a special glaze. Pop Nation popsicles will provide refreshing, sweet treats. Local wine and beer will be available.

Guests are also encouraged to bring their own picnics, and the event will feature a “Best Capay Picnic Contest.” Farm staff will roam the event, scouting for the best-looking picnic. The picnic contest winner will receive three complimentary Farm Fresh To You deliveries.

Three local bands will play music for dancing under the sun and the stars:

The Pleasant Valley Boys, who hail from Dixon, kick off the fun at 4 p.m. Vocal harmonies, razor-sharp mandolin and old-time exact banjo by Matt and George are the central elements of the Pleasant Valley Boys’ stylish and traditional bluegrass music.

Miss Lonely Hearts take the stage at 6:30 p.m. With influences from Tom Waits to Woody Guthrie, the band will share its unique sound, described as “back country, roots-a-billy music.”

Miss Lonely Hearts brings together guitar, harmonica, drums, mandolin and upright bass for an upbeat sound.

Old Man Markley, the headliner, starts playing at 9 p.m. This eight-piece amalgamation of bluegrass and punk has shared the bill with acts such as Bad Religion, Flogging Molly, NOFX and The Devil Makes Three.

With three-part harmonies, nimble instrumentation and an energetic, raucous performance, this band is set to rock the event with fiddle, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, guitar, washboard, drums, autoharp and a homemade washtub bass.

Dilly Dally the Clown will paint faces and a henna artist will draw custom designs for a nominal charge.

Visitors also can make an herb salt with organic farm herbs, ride the tractor tram, sample olive oil and grapeseed oil, pet farm animals and delight in bubble making and kids’ crafts for free.

Guests also can camp overnight in the peach, fig and mandarin orange orchards at the farm. Campsites may be reserved in advance for $35 each ($40 at door). Each campsite is 15 feet wide and extends the length of the entire orchard row. There is a one-car limit per campsite.

Campers may stay on the farm until 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 15. RVs and campfires are not permitted. Space is limited; campsites sold out at last year’s event.

Tickets are on sale now through Monday, July 9, for $20 per person. Children 12 and under are free. After that date, tickets will be sold at the door for $25 per person. To purchase tickets, go to

For more information, call (800) 796-6009.



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